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Women’s Ministry leadership grant helps fund women’s equity forum

The forum has given voice to ensure that all people matter — especially those who are marginalized

by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service

The Rev. Chineta Goodjoin

LOUISVILLE — New Hope Presbyterian Church in Anaheim, California, can be seen as a stream of flowing water for many African Americans in Orange County, California, where according to the most recent information provided by the U.S. Census, the population of African Americans is 2.1%.

New Hope officially became a chartered church within the Presbytery of Los Ranchos in December 2017. The chartering fulfills the dream of St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Compton, California. When St. John’s dissolved its congregation 40 years ago, church leaders set aside financial resources from the sale of the property to support the planting of an African American church in Orange County.

Since its inception, New Hope’s mission has been to be a vibrant, Christ-centered community of prayer, praise and music where all people matter. From a core group of 20 in 2007, the church has continued to experience growth despite having no church site of its own and holding worship services on Saturday evenings.

A grant from the Women’s Leadership Development and Young Women’s Ministries has helped New Hope continue to meet its mission. The grant was used to fund a Women’s Equity Forum in which female leaders from religious, economic and justice sectors of the community shared their stories and advocacy to help inspire and support women to seek fairness and justice in the world.

“This project builds upon our rich diversity and history and brings greater voice to our mission to ensure that all people matter —especially those who are marginalized,” said the Rev. Chineta Goodjoin, the pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Church.

“By using advocacy, justice, spiritual empowerment, and community engagement to support women in their quest for equity and fairness in all sectors of life, we wanted to create a space of inspiration and hope that would cultivate unity in spirit and deepen relationships with God and each other,” Goodjoin said. “We believe that the sacredness of our expression and the stories of struggle and success build bridges of worthiness, purpose and hope. As women of God, we’re excited to celebrate life and the truth of our worthiness in the fight for freedom and equity.”

Since its birth as a new church development in 2007, New Hope has become a multi-ethnic community of worship that embodies the attributes of African American worship and seeks to respond to the needs of surrounding communities.

“In our faith tradition, we are working together across ethnicities and generations to discern the mind of Christ and the will of God as we carry the 40-year-old dream forward into a new community context,” said Goodjoin.

Goodjoin says the forum helped to empower women in the community with knowledge and awareness about how to advocate for and achieve gender equity through educational, economic and spiritual strength and support.

“We were able to invite women speakers, advocates of color who have broken ‘glass ceilings’ in their respective careers and calls in life,” she said. “These Christian women leaders serve to empower and inspire women of all generations to believe in their worth and continue to fight for equity and parity in institutions and spaces that have been historically male dominated. The success of these women leaders is the success of all hard-working women who deserve gender equity.”

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