New Hope Church takes music, message to L.A.

By Rich Freedman/

Posted: 04/01/2012 01:00:40 AM PDT

Minister Johathan Johnson, right, at the keyboard, rehearses the New Hope Church's Youth Music and Arts Ministry chorus as they prepare for an April 13-16 trip to Los Angeles. The group, consisting of 25 signers and dancers and 8 chaperones, could use some help, as several recent fundraising car washes have been rained out, leaving the group short of money needed for the trip. (Mike Jory/Times-Herald)

Two fund-raising car washes were rained out. But, as needed as the money is, it’s going to take a lot more than that to deter the Rev. Terry Nichols, pastor at the New Hope Church Community.

Nichols fully intends on sending the Vallejo church’s Youth Music and Arts Ministry to three scheduled concerts in Southern California from April 13-15. Each member needs $300 and the car washes were going to help the cause.

“We usually raise anywhere from $500 to $700 per car wash,” Nichols said.

Fortunately, a bake auction and a raffle for gas added some cash to the cause.

One way or another, the church will be well represented at the Watts Power House Church on April 13 in L.A., the Wayside Christian Church on April 14 in Lancaster, and the New Birth Bible Church on April 15 back in Los Angeles.

“This is a tour of faith,” Nichols said. “We are a small church and it is a tremendous undertaking to begin with. Especially during this economy. We have youth in Vallejo who are talented, yet are not rich. So it is a challenge for most of these single-parent households. We all believe that this trip will further develop their talent, character, faith, integrity and leadership skills.”

As the national president of a group of African American churches, Nichols visited five of the member churches in Los Angeles last year.

“We all realized that they were struggling to reach the youth in their areas,” Nichols said. “We felt that this type of weekend really would help them introduce themselves to the parents, youth, schools and other local youth organizations.”

The three areas of the churches selected “are heavily identified as a low income, gang area,” Nichols said. “We are going to encourage the youth who are already attending their churches as well as those that they are reaching out to. They have invited an after-school and breakfast program and the boys and girls club.”

Nichols said 25 members 13 to 18 will make the journey.

“Their purpose is to encourage the youth in L.A. to use their music and arts talents in a positive way,” Nichols said. “Our youth will intersperse some of their life challenges in between songs and dances. They will also have a lunch chat encouraging them to get involved in summer and winter camping programs that build character and leadership.”

To donate or for more information, call Nichols at (707) 310-3926.