A loving and faithful membership on fire for Christ perfectly describes the New Hope Baptist Church of Los Angeles. The mid-sized congregation has joyfully spread the Gospel for the past 115 years and they don’t intend to slow down.
Parishioners worship in the historic edifice located on a manicured campus at 5200 South Central Avenue in South L.A. The expansive building, designed by the renowned African American architect, Paul Revere Williams, features a spacious sanctuary, lighted baptismal pool, sectional choir loft and offices for the pastor, administrative staff and church auxiliaries.
Although the complex is impressive, it’s the people – the pastors and the members – that have led to New Hope’s reputation as a spirit-filled Body of Christ who welcomes others to fellowship and join them in serving the Lord.
“I just love my church. It’s a family church and a loving church. They just put their arms around you when you come in and it’s just wonderful,” said Joy Randall, chair of the Trustee Board, who was nine-years-old when she joined the church with her family.
“After people sit through a service, they usually want to join our church. I think that seeing a variety of people makes them more comfortable. We’re not a church just for Black people, we’re for Christians,” added Patricia Henderson, a member since she was 10-years-old.
Randall and Henderson are among the members with deep roots at New Hope. Randall’s parents raised her in the church and she raised her children there, resulting in three generations of her family at New Hope. Henderson treasures Bible lessons she learned as a teen from then-Pastor James S. McKnight.
New Hope’s community outreach activities have always made an impact on Randall’s life. For decades, members have supported the food distribution and tutoring and education programs.
“We also have a benevolence arm where we assist people who come to the church for assistance,” said Randall, noting that the pandemic had resulted in reduced finances and even job losses for many residents and New Hope members contribute to aid others in need.
New Hope’s multicultural and multigenerational membership is also distinctive, Henderson shared. The congregation is not only comprised of all ages, but also includes White and Latino worshippers who praise God “with just as much spirit and enthusiasm” as the African American members.
“Our church is open to different people and we’re very faithful to helping individuals. We’ve had people come to the church who have had problems and we sit down and talk to them. We try and help people,” stressed Henderson.
Many people are assisted through programs held at the church’s B.O. Byrd Memorial Christian Education Center. Older community members are aided by residing at the New Hope Senior Villa, an affordable apartment complex located on Central Avenue and 50th St.
Currently, the New Hope members are seeking a pastor to lead the congregation. The duties include preaching and teaching the Gospel, directing church ministries, and promoting the growth of New Hope. Applicants must possess a college degree, preferably in divinity or its equivalent, from an accredited seminary and have at least six years of experience as a Baptist minister. Other qualifications are upright Christian character, sound personal financial history and successfully pass a background check.
New Hope resumed in-person worship on Sunday, July 4, following CDC guidelines, which include social distancing, mask wearing and sanitizing stations. Sunday services can also be accessed via live stream, Zoom and conference calls.
To learn more about New Hope Baptist Church of Los Angeles, call (323) 232-4326 or email [email protected]