Rev. Dr. Henry Masters Sr. By Cora Jackson-FossettSentinel Religion Editor
Reaching across denominational lines, several local ministers have united to launch Deep River magazine (DRM) to connect churches and cities throughout Southern California.The free Christian publication, which makes its debut in February, will focus on both changing people and addressing issues that affect African Americans. ìOur vision statement is ìGoing deeper to save souls, transform lives and build better communities,î said Rev. Dr. Henry Masters, publisher and senior pastor of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.ìAbout 20 pastors around Southern California are working with me on new venture and our focus is on transformation, not just information. We want to galvanize the tremendous resources in the African American Christian community to make a difference in transforming minds and hearts and ultimately build better communities for our people.îThe DRM Advisory Board represents many denominations and independent ministries throughout the area. Members include Bishop Charles E. Blake, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ; Rev. John Derron Johnson, senior pastor of Calvary C.M.E. Church in Pasadena; Rev. J. Louis Watkins, pastor of New Friendship Baptist Church in Santa Barbara; Rev. Vanessa MacKenzie, senior pastor of Church of the Advent (Episcopal); Rev. Dr. John Ringgold, senior pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in San Diego; Rev. Mark E. Whitlock, senior pastor of Christ Our Redeemer A.M.E. Church in Irvine; Rev. Wayne A Chaney Jr., senior pastor of Antioch Church of Long Beach; and Rev. Dr. Marvis L. Davis Sr., pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church of Venice and president of the Baptist Ministers Conference of L.A.ìWe all share the same goal and we all agreed the DRM is something we can do and do well together to make some changes in our community. The magazine gives us a forum to talk about our problems and our possibilities,î said Rev. Masters.Rev. Dr. Cecil L. Murray, another DRM Advisory Board member, said, ìI agreed to be a participant in Deep Rivers Magazine because Pastor Mastersí intent is to make the Word become flesh. He moves the pulpit to the arena of social activism.†What the magazine offers to the readers and the community is correlation, information, and transformation. This is called "the post-civil rights era," but anyone who thinks we have arrived is ëcruising for a bruising.í† We still have a long way to go.† Just check out the Tea Party.îRev. Dr. Kikanza J. Nuri-Robins, also on the DRM Advisory Board, said, ìI have a strong commitment to community service, and because I had the time, when I was invited I said yes. I am very interested in addressing domestic violence and my clients have had difficulty partnering with the religious community on this issue. †I hope, with my personal interactions with the leaders on the advisory board, to learn better how they could comfortably address the issue.îDRM will be distributed bi-monthly to churches, businesses, and other venues frequented by African Americans. Each edition of the full-color, 36 page, publication will feature a theme and articles on the topic. The theme of the debut issue will be ëResilienceí and includes a review of three faith-based community outreach programs sponsored by the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC. The programs were founded by Dr. Murray, Rev. Whitlock and Rev. Eugene Williams.ìThe first issue will also share words, examples and stories of resilience helping people to use the strength of their faith and culture. Again, itís the idea to transform our habits and transform our lives,î said Rev. Masters.ìWe really intend for this magazine to be for everyday people to help address everyday issues. We want to positive, but at the same time, not sugarcoat issues. How do we use our faith, our culture, our history to get us through what weíre going through? Our articles will address those issues as well as the issues of the church,î he said. For information or free subscription to Deep River, visit www.deeprivermagazine.com.