New Hope the Vision Center celebrates 20 years of worship service to community

Published 12:48 am Sunday, February 5, 2017


NATCHEZ — Twenty years ago, Bishop Stanley B. Searcy started more than a church. He sparked a movement.

On Feb. 9, 1997, Searcy founded New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in a small wooden church on Morgantown Road.

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Six years later, Searcy and his congregation built and moved into its current church facility next door — a building that can house several hundred people for a worship service.

“It is an awesome testament to God’s power and God’s love,” Searcy said.

The church continues to worship not just in the church sanctuary, but also in the larger community, he said.

“Our ministry is not just preaching behind the pulpit,” Searcy said. “We believe to worship, the actual service is in the community. That is our mission.”

A five-day celebration of music and worship is planned to commemorate the church’s 20th anniversary, church administrator Aaron Patten Jr. said.

Called  the Prophetic Grace Conference, the celebration will feature guest speakers from as far away as Jamaica and Barbados.  Each service begins at 7 p.m.

From 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, the church will host an open house, Patten said. Refreshments will be served and tours will be offered of the church, community center and one of the units from the church’s set of apartments.

Speakers scheduled to speak during the conference will include:

  • Prophet Ricardo Strachan from Lauderhill, Fla., on Monday
  • Dr. Anthony McKenzie from Kingston, Jamaica, on Tuesday
  • Apostle Purcell Jackson from Kingston, Jamaica, on Wednesday
  • Apostle Belfield Belgrave from Barbados, on Thursday
  • Apostle Michael Hunter from Greenacres, Fla., on Friday.

After 20 years, Searcy said the church is poised for a greater ministry devoted to bringing a divided community and country together.

“This 20th year is going to bring together a complete victory in our city,” Searcy said. “We are going to be an example for the nation that we can all get along and work together.”

“We feel like we are needed more than ever,” Searcy said.