If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday - Pearl S. Buck


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The House That Built Whitney - New Hope Baptist Church and The Drinkard Singers

On the site of New Hope Baptist Church, Newark is this scripture:

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD,
 thoughts of peace, and not of evil,
to give you an expected end
Jeremiah 29:11

As you know Whitney Houston began her musical career at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark and this Saturday her family and friends will say goodbye to her in the same church.

New Hope began as a mission in the home of Addie and Maggie Vine and elected its first pastor, Rev. Jesse Williams in 1903.  
Sometime between 1920 and 1930, John Drinkard, Jr. and his wife Susan moved their family from Georgia to New Jersey.  John was Native American and Susan was part Dutch and part African American.  The name "Drinkard" means the running of water.  One of their children was Nitcholas A. Drinkard, "Nitch" and he married Delia McCaskill and together they had eight children.  Nitch wanted his children to be gospel singers and in the late 1930's four of the children began singing at New Hope as the Drinkard Four.  The group consisted of Emily Drinkard (later known as Cissy Houston), brothers, Nick and Larry and sister, Anne.   Older sister Lee, managed the group.  Lee, later became the mother of singers, Dee Dee and Dionne Warwick.  As the group expanded to include sister, Marie and Judy Clay (Lee's adopted daughter) they became known as the Drinkard Singers.
They became the first gospel group to sing with Mahelia Jackson when they performed together at the National Baptist Convention in the early 1950's. In 1957 they became the first gospel group to sign with RCA.  Over the next few years the group made changes and became known as the Sweet Inspirations.  They sang with the Warwick sisters, Elvis and Aretha Franklin and it all started at New Hope. There should be a movie about them.
You can listen to the group on youtube.com or go here.  I promise you will be lifted up.

Now when I was searching videos about New Hope I found one that included our own Oklahoma child, Gwen Guthrie.  I first wrote about Ms. Guthrie, here.  She was born in Okemah and shares a birthday with Woody Guthrie, July 14th.  I have to send you to youtube again at this link so you can listen to Ms. Guthrie singing "How Great Thou Art" at New Hope.  She is the one at the podium with the choir being led by Whitney's aunt, Anne Drinkard Moss (red robe).  This video is before 1999 because Ms. Guthrie died in 1999 at the tender age of 48.
Wouldn't you just love to go to New Hope and listen to all the beautiful music? 
During news reports I've seen New Hope's pastor and I thought to myself, "what a compassionate man" and so I had to learn more about him.

The current pastor, Rev. Joe A. Carter is only the sixth pastor in the church's history.  In 1980, Pastor Carter told his father, Rev. Henry B. Carter, Sr. that he had the desire to preach the gospel and so on March 16, 1980 at the tender age of nine, Joe A. Carter gave his first sermon in Oklahoma City, OK.  It was from Gensis 1:1; entitled "The Magic of God".
You can find out more about Pastor Carter from New Hope's website.

As Christians we know Whitney is in a better place and you know she'll get to sing all the solos in her new Angel Choir.
Goodbye, Whitney,
 . . . you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.
1 Chronicles 28:20

Territory Mom

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