Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Drop the Mic Youth Talent Showcase in Antioch tonight, March 17

Friday, March 17th, 2023

Calling ALL Youth 12-18yrs old!! Join US For a Night of Clean Safe FUN!! Showcase Your Talent and Compete for CASH Prizes. Can you Sing, Dance, Rap or Flow in Spoken Word? Register today and share your gifts on stage to win CASH Prizes. No profanity or violence allowed. Come out for a FREE night of Food, Fun and Music prepared with Youth in mind!

Register today and receive information on submitting a sample of your talent to be included. Share this with friends & invite them to DROP The Mic!!! See you there!

Free for the public to attend. Located at Genesis Church 1800 Woodland Drive in Antioch.

To register or reserve your spot visit Drop The MIC Youth Showcase Tickets, Fri, Mar 17, 2023 at 6:30 PM | Eventbrite

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Join Bethesda Community Church International for their Annual Convention in Antioch March 24-26

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

For more information visit

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Antioch woman arrested for making threats against Christian schools in Walnut Creek

Friday, March 3rd, 2023

By Lt. Holley Connors, Walnut Creek Police Department

An Antioch woman who is suspected of making threats to a private school in Walnut Creek is in custody. Walnut Creek Police Detectives and the Central County SWAT Team served a search and arrest warrant at 33-year-old Danielle Nye’s residence in Antioch last night. Detectives ultimately arrested Ms. Nye for PC 422 – Criminal Threats.

On February 28th, Contra Costa Christian Schools (CCCS) reported to Walnut Creek Police Department (WCPD) that they received numerous emails and voicemails from an unknown person who spoke of vague threats of violence toward the school. Officers worked to identify and locate the sender and to determine if there were any credible threats.

On March 1st, CCCS notified WCPD that they received more emails, and the threatening language had escalated. One email contained a photo of an apparent rifle.

Based on the continuing threats, behavior of the caller, and the photo of the weapon, CCCS sent students in after-school classes home early on March 1st. Walnut Creek Police searched the campus and found no evidence of weapons or threats to staff or students. Out of an abundance of caution, CCCS cancelled all classes for March 2nd.

At this time, there is no known threat to CCCS’ staff or students. It appears this was an isolated incident, and WCPD will continue follow up investigation to confirm no one else was involved. It is unknown what, if any, connection Ms. Nye has to CCCS.

She was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility and remains in custody on $25,000 bail. Anyone with any information is asked to contact Walnut Creek Police Department at 925-943-5844 or call the Anonymous Tip Line at 925-943-5865.

Case #: 23-7237


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Antioch Council learns about micro-housing program for city’s homeless residents

Wednesday, March 1st, 2023

Architectural renderings by Shelterwerk of micro-homes planned for Hope Village at Grace Presbyterian Church in Walnut Creek. Source: Hope Solutions

Includes tiny homes and ADU’s

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting Tuesday night, the Antioch City Council was provided a presentation on an effort to bring tiny homes to Antioch and the two-year Partnership for the Bay’s Future Breakthrough Grant to fund the effort to get them approved in the city. The proposal includes micro-home cottages on faith owned land plus Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) on privately owned residential property.

The agencies are the Multi-Faith Action Coalition (formerly Contra Costa Interfaith Housing) and the Pleasant Hill-based Hope Solutions with help from the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) Bay Area.

“Manufactured micro-homes are less costly than stick-built homes,” said Meredith Rupp, a Fellow with Partnership for the Bay’s Future.

They have identified 41 sites in Antioch totaling 75 acres. But regulatory changes are needed. They will work with Community Development Director Forrest Ebbs on that before bringing to the city council for consideration.

“Our preliminary vision is to develop a library of pre-approved plans…ready, off-the-shelf for homeowners to use,” said Jasmine Tarkoff, also of Hope Solutions.

A Resident Empowerment Program is the “third pillar” of the effort including mental health services and support for job training, and other “wrap-around” services, shared Deborah Carney, of Hope Solutions and an Antioch resident.

According to the Partnership for the Bay’s Future website, the Breakthrough Grants program is “to help communities pass equitable housing policy. Selected local governments will receive a dynamic, mission-driven fellow who will work on community-driven local policy in affordable housing production and preservation. The Partnership will also provide two years of grant funding to community partners to engage and activate the local community. The whole Breakthrough Grant cohort will have access to a flexible pool of funding for technical assistance to meet their policy goals. The value of this support is about $500,000 per jurisdiction.”

Examples of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s). Source: Partnership for the Bay’s Future

Father Robert Rien of St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Antioch spoke in favor of the program. “I have seen homelessness right up front. We have had a very strong concern about those who are not as blessed us to have homes. One of the issues that has really burned for me are the number of families living out of their cars. The Antioch school district has 235 families living out of their vehicles. We have a number of veterans living along the river.”

His parish was instrumental in building Tabora Gardens Senior Apartments located on Tabora Drive at James Donlon Blvd.

“We have eight-and-a-half acres. We’d like to use part of our property to build housing for the unhoused. We’re hoping to build 21 units,” he added.

People affiliated with Hope Solutions and other organizations, as well as a few Antioch residents spoke in favor of the tiny homes, including Pastor Chris Watson of the Golden Hills Community Church Community Outreach Center (COC) on East 18th Street.

“The biggest area of need is affordable housing,” he said. “Our people have income. We’re trying to provide them dignity. Providing a roof over their head is a difficulty. We look forward to partnering together.”

Council Discussion

During council discussion of the item District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock wanted to know, “This is permanent housing?”

“Yes,” was the response.

“Who will be there, families?” she asked. “I would like to see it as a family unit, myself. Under the government entities the County isn’t listed. I’d like to see the County partner with us. They get money from the state.”

“I think it’s a great idea. I love the idea,” Ogorchock continued. “It’s an exciting project and I think it’s something doable within the city.”

District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica, “When we say permanent housing are we talking forever, 30 years? And what is the funding mechanism beyond?”

“They’re built to HCD standards, the same as your home and my home,” Tarkoff explained. “These are not pallet homes or Tuff Sheds. This particular grant is all around being able to develop to explore micro-homes on faith owned home…streamlining the entitlement process.”

The organization is engaged in both public and private funding for the construction and ongoing costs.

“There is no plan in place to get that person into permanent housing?” Barbanica asked.

“The plan is to bring individuals and families, provide them with the housing, with support services…Hope Solutions does not place time limitations on how long an individual can stay in a home,” Tarkoff responded. “Of course, our goal is as individuals heal and want to get into larger housing, we’d like to get them into that trajectory.”

“On our end as policy makers we’ll really only be dealing with zoning,” Mayor Lamar Thorpe said. “This is your project. We don’t set expectations. We spend our time getting the zoning done. We’re not approving anything. We’re not. Just zoning. Certainly, we want to be involved.”

“I still believe in participating in this…proposal at the church,” Ogorchock added. “I think it’s more than just zoning and entitlements.”

“Our job is to not make this cumbersome. We can easily get in the way,” Thorpe stated. “You’re not asking for permission. Let’s create the zoning and let the churches and faith-based organizations get the job done.”

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Antioch Council declares Friday, January 27, 2023 declared Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch Day

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

Recognizing church’s 20th anniversary this month

By Allen D. Payton

During their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, the Antioch City Council honored Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch with a:

Proclamation Declaring Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch Day

January 27, 2023

WHEREAS, in 2003, Grace Bible Fellowship was birthed in a local hair salon owned by Reverend Kirkland A. Smith and Senior Pastor, First Lady Qwivander Smith and its members believe God’s favor blessed the weekly bible study held for one year at the Heavenly Hair Beauty Salon in Antioch;

WHEREAS, in January 2003, remaining faithful to Christ and to the leadership at Fremont Bible Fellowship, the Reverend and First Lady Smith, along with 30 charter members, marched into what is now known as Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch;

WHEREAS, within one year, Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch celebrated abundant growth in ministry and membership. It now serves over 1,500 members and supports countless ministries designed to meet the needs of the community;

WHEREAS, in 2022, Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch increased its presence in Antioch by offering Afterschool Tutoring, Grace Closet-Food and Clothing Pantry, Overcomers for those struggling with addictions, Grace House for Men transitioning back into society and/or overcoming homelessness, and Midnight Basketball to give at-risk young men another alternative on Friday nights other than the streets. Lastly, Grace Daycare is opening soon, offering quality affordable daycare for parents; and

WHEREAS, January 2023 marks 20 years of ministry for Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch located at 3415 Oakley Road, Antioch, California. Grace will continue to be a light in the City of Antioch by breaking ground on their new Multi-Purpose Center, Indoor Gymnasium, and Bowling Alley.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, LAMAR A. THORPE, Mayor of the City of Antioch, hereby proclaim January 27, 2023, as Grace Bible Fellowship of Antioch Day, in recognition and celebration of the significant contributions to the local community in the City of Antioch.

JANUARY 24, 2023

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14 students honor their Antioch voice teacher battling cancer this Christmas with music video

Monday, December 26th, 2022

Source: YouTube video screenshot.

Nuhad Levasseur from her LinkedIn profile.

By Justin Llamas

Our amazing voice teacher, Nuhad Levasseur, is fighting cancer. And we believe she’ll win. This video is dedicated to Nuhad, a woman who has changed us all for the better. Merry Christmas!

In the Light Voice Studio students, in singing order:

Christina Jardine

Lauren Mariscal

David Morgan

Stevie Rae Stephens

Mikayla Thompson

Christian Abrojena

Jessica Montez

Hailey Schneider

Stephen Morgan

Justin Llamas (me)

Marcus Delgado

Ashley Morgan

Ali Travis

Brian Joksch (no solo, seen in second chorus)

Levasseur has owned In The Light Voice Studio since 1992, first in Antioch and now, in Marietta, Georgia where her family moved last year. She previously sang in the choir and performed solos at Golden Hills Community Church in Brentwood.

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Hark the Herald Angels Sing “Glory to the Newborn King!”

Sunday, December 25th, 2022

The Greatest News Ever Given

The lyrics in the old Christmas carol pretty much sum up the story of Christmas: “Hark the herald angels sing, ‘Glory to the newborn king! Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.’” Because that’s how it’s described in the book of Luke, chapter 2 in the Bible.

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby [Bethlehem], keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” Luke 2:8-14

As we celebrate Christmas, today, exchanging and opening presents, eating wonderful homemade food and watching classic Christmas movies, let’s remember what this holiday is really all about – celebrating the birthday of Jesus, the Christ.

He was, in the slang of speaker Ken Poure, “God in a bod.” He came down from Heaven, made himself lower than the angels and took on the body of a human being, was born as a baby – not into earthly wealth or power, but to a holy, yet imperfect young, virgin woman and a carpenter, to whom she was engaged, and in a stable with domesticated animals looking on, then growing into adulthood, so he could be one of us.

Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, who the prophet Isaiah proclaimed 700 years before His birth, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.”

However, He was not a political messiah as many sought in that day, to lead a revolt and rescue them from the rule of the Roman Empire, but rather a spiritual, eternal messiah whose kingdom will never end. What’s more important and lasting, something political or spiritual? Obviously, spiritual.

As a human, Jesus was able to communicate with us, show us how to live and love, and share with us God’s message of salvation, which He provided. Instead of the yearly sacrifice of the unblemished lamb, whose blood merely covered over the sins of the people, the unblemished, perfect Christ provided us the once-and-for-all sacrifice, eliminating our sin and defeating the power of death – ultimate, spiritual, eternal death – for those who choose to follow Him and accept Him as their Lord and Savior. He is our bridge to God the Father, who reached down into human history to offer us a way to have a relationship with Him, that had been broken off by the sin of Adam and Eve.

So, today, this Christmas day, I encourage you to read the story of the birth of Jesus, the Christ in Luke, chapter two. Then find a Bible-believing church to attend today to seek out others who understand and have experienced the true meaning of Christmas, found in Jesus, who came to give us hope; salvation from the degradation of sin in our lives – because we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – the opportunity to have an abundant life, not just one of empty pursuit of pleasure and acquiring things; peace in our hearts; and to be with Him for eternity. Because unlike any other spiritual leader in history Jesus is the only way to God, as he proclaimed “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

And that is the way to have a truly, Merry Christmas!

Allen D. Payton, Publisher

Here are the words to the song that memorializes the most important herald that has ever been – the announcement by the angels of the birth of the Savior of the world, Jesus the Christ, the long-prophesied messiah, born in Bethlehem some 2000 years ago.  He was born to bridge the gap between humans and God, due to the sin in their lives, which breaks our fellowship and relationship with Him. This year, you can know the true meaning of Christmas by opening your heart to the message and reason for the season, the birth, perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus. Learn more by clicking here.  Enjoy the lyrics and song of “Hark the herald angels sing.”

Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

To hear it sung, click here. 

"Hark the herald angels sing” Christmas Carol was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley founder
of the Methodist church, in 1739. A somber man, he requested slow and solemn music for his lyrics and thus
“Hark the herald angels sing” was sung to a different tune initially. Over a hundred years later Felix
Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed a cantata in 1840 to commemorate Johann Gutenberg's invention of the
printing press. English musician William H. Cummings adapted Mendelssohn’s music to fit the lyrics of
“Hark the herald angels sing” already written by Wesley.
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Good News Press December 2022

Sunday, December 25th, 2022

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