In August 1985, the Christian Church in Georgia, via the Church Development Commission decided to start a new church in the Snapfinger-Flat Shoals community in Dekalb County. A task force, designated as the Project Advisory Committee (PAC) was established. This committee served as a liaison between the regional office and the new church; it was responsible for guiding the development of the new congregation, making policy decisions, and giving support as well as advice and counsel to the pastor/developer.
After being assured of the necessary funding from the Church Advance Now (CAN) office, PAC set out to find a pastor/developer. After a series of interviews, Rev. Cynthia L. Hale, a native of Roanoke, Virginia and life-time member of the Disciples of Christ denomination, was called to the position in November 1985. Rev. Hale, who served as a chaplain for federal correctional facilities in North Carolina and Colorado, moved to Atlanta in January 1986.
In February 1986, Rev. Hale, along with four people: Rev. Kenneth Henry, Joann Bell, Sherry Gassaway, and Michael Sinclair began meeting for Bible Study in her apartment. Also, during that time PAC began brainstorming for a name for the church. When Rev. Hale was asked what name she wanted for the church, she stated, “A Ray of Hope.” In March 1986, her suggestion was accepted but later the “A” was dropped.
On May 4, 1986, Rev. Hale was formally commissioned Pastor/Developer of the Ray of Hope Christian Church by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia at the First Christian Church of Atlanta in Tucker, Georgia. Rev. Hale and Rev. Kenneth Henry, the PAC chairman then set out to locate a possible site for the new congregation.
On Sunday, June 29, 1986, Ray of Hope Christian Church began worshipping in the cafeteria of Columbia High School in Decatur, GA. Many firsts were celebrated at this location: The first congregational meeting was held on August 3rd, 1986; the first Sunday school was established on September 2, 1986; the Ray of Hope Choir made its debut on October 19, 1986, and the first baptism was held on November 16, 1986.
In 1987, Ray of Hope continued to blossom with the institution of a New Members Class on January 4, 1987 and first baby dedication was held on January 25, 1987. The first anniversary of Ray of Hope Christian Church was celebrated in June 1987 with the opening of the Charter with 67 persons signing it. From the beginning, Rev. Hale and PAC shared many visions and soon the young congregation began to claim their visions. The greatest vision shared by Rev. Hale, PAC, and the congregation was the acquisition
of a permanent home. PAC began inquiries with congregations that were considering relocating and selling their building. One such congregation was the Christ Sanctified Holy Church. After much conversation and looking at other sites, it was decided that Christ Sanctified Holy Church was the best choice.
The congregation toured the church in February of 1987 and immediately claimed the victory of obtaining a permanent home. The only question raised was how a congregation of 50-60 people could buy a building for $650,000.00 and maintain it? Hal Doster and Al Widener, members of the PAC, came up with the idea of a capital campaign. On March 1, 1987, the campaign was launched throughout the general church, concentrating in Georgia. The theme of the campaign was “New Hope – New Vision – New Witness.” The goal was $300,000.00. However, the campaign celebrated a victory with $354,000.00 pledged by April 5, 1987 of which $75,000.00 was pledged by the 50-60 members of the congregation. At a meeting on April 26, 1987, the congregation voted to purchase the Christ Sanctified Holy Church, erected in 1974, which contained 18,000 square feet and 3.7 acres of land.
In October 1987, Ray of Hope’s congregation moved into their new home at 3936 Rainbow Drive, Decatur, Georgia 30034. With 86 members, the first worship service was held on November 1, 1987. Rev. William L. Lee and the Loudon Avenue Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Roanoke, VA celebrated this momentous occasion with the members of Ray of Hope.
On June 5, 1988, Ray of Hope elected its first officers and adopted a Constitution. On June 26, 1988, the Ray of Hope celebrated its second anniversary with a dedication and closing of the Charter service. Rev. Alvin O. Jackson and the congregation of Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church of Memphis, TN were invited to join in the celebration. By that time, the church membership had risen to 166 members.
Rev. Cynthia L. Hale and the Ray of Hope Christian Church continued their success story throughout 1988 and 1989. Rev. Hale was featured on the cover of “Jubilee Today, The Magazine for Church Members and Friends” featuring her article “Living in Hope.” The Ray of Hope received the “Recognition of Excellence in Evangelism” award presented by the National Evangelistic Association of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). This award represented membership additions by baptism and transfer, during 1988 totaling 125.9% of their participating membership.
In May 1989, Ray of Hope installed and dedicated the baptismal pool. The first annual revival was held on June 19-22, 1989 and the third anniversary was celebrated on June 25, 1989.
On February 3 and 11, 1990, the Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWF), later to become Daughters of Destiny, and the Christian Men’s Fellowship (CMF), later to become Master’s Men, were established respectively. On February 20, 1990, the church purchased five acres of adjacent land as investment property; this land was later used for the expansion of the church’s parking lot. The church observed its fourth anniversary on June 24, 1990 and the first annual songfest and homecoming were celebrated on November 4, 1990.
After the implementation of the shepherding program in 1990, Dr. Hale completed her dissertation entitled, “Breaking Free from the One Pastor Mentality in Congregational Life: A Manual for Lay Shepherds.” She received the Doctor of Ministry Degree from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio on May 26, 1991.
In 1991, Trunell D. Felder was hired as the first Youth Pastor while attending the Candler School of Theology. After graduation and ordination, Rev. Felder was hired as the first full time Associate Pastor and later received the position of Co-Pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church. On June 16, 1991, the first annual Men’s Day was held and the church celebrated its fifth anniversary on June 23, 1991. The third annual revival was held on September 14, 1991 and the second homecoming was celebrated on November 3, 1991.
Ray of Hope dedicated its new sound system on June 14, 1992 and the church celebrated its sixth anniversary on June 28, 1992. The third annual homecoming was observed on November 1, 1992 with the theme “Treasures of the Past, A Legacy for the Future.”
Also in 1992, the Long Range Planning Committee was given the task of strategically planning the direction the Ray of Hope Christian Church should take. As they worked through the process, it became clear that if the church continued to follow God’s plan, it would grow and indeed it did; so much so that two years later it had literally run out of space and was bursting at the seams.
A committee was formed to determine the feasibility of purchasing land that was located on the corner of Browns Mill Road and Snapfinger Road in Decatur, GA. This land was no ordinary plot of land. The time had come and it was evident. In 1992, the congregation walked the land and claimed it.
1993 was another momentous year in the life of Ray of Hope. The church held its first children and youth oratorical contest on February 10, 1993. On February 25, 1993, Dr. Hale was inducted into the MLK Board of Preachers and on March 27, 1993, she received the Parents Against Crack (PAC) award. The fifth annual revival was held on June 6-10, 1993 and the Young Adult Ministry (YAM) was established on June 23, 1993. The church celebrated its seventh anniversary on June 27, 1993. On July 17, 1993, six young men of Ray of Hope’s “Boyz 2 Men” Mentoring Program participated in the Atlanta Metro Soapbox Derby in Highlands Business Park, Smyrna, GA. In September 1993, Ray of Hope began holding two worship services in response to their tremendous growth; membership was now over 800 persons.
On June 5-8, 1994, Ray of Hope held its sixth annual revival and celebrated its eighth anniversary on June 26, 1994. The church also celebrated Dr. Hale’s fifteenth ordination anniversary on August 21, 1994 and Ray of Hope’s Mass Choir won first place in McDonald’s Gospelfest. On September 29, 1994, the purchase of the Browns Mill Road property was finalized. This land is now the future home for the Senior Citizen’s Housing Development. The Ray of Hope Men of Ogbani Mentor Program and the Women of Gennesaret Female Rites of Passage Program were established on October 8, 1994.
In 1995, the City of Hope Development Committee was appointed. On June 22, 1995, Dr. Hale was awarded the “Breakfast of Champions Award” for religion. The church celebrated its ninth anniversary on June 24, 1995 and its eighth annual homecoming on November 5, 1995. The theme for the homecoming was “To the Kingdom by Faith.” On November 26, 1995, Ray of Hope’s Outreach Ministry sponsored a paper shower for the Anchor Transitional Shelter for Homeless Women and Children.
On December 17, 1995, the annual recognition dinner was held at the Crowne Plaza Ravinia. The theme was “Kingdom Bound – We can’t turn back now!”
In 1996, the church chose as its theme, “Proclaiming the Year of Jubilee: Setting the Captives Free.” In January 1996, the Senior Ministry was established. In February 1996, the Black History and Cultural Ministry and Women of Gennesaret sponsored a “Black Doll” drive in support of South Africa’s Doll Project. The Health Ministry established a new program called the “Overcomer’s Club.” This was a support program for addicted persons and their families. Also, in February 1996, the Christian Youth Fellowship presented a “Youth Praise Explosion” which was a worship through music program with guests from the First Iconium Youth Choir.
On March 26, 1996, the Special Events Ministry (SEM) was established to provide leadership and guidance in the planning and implementation of Ray of Hope’s major church-wide events. Other ministries participate in SEM through their representatives. On March 8, 1996, the Health Ministry sponsored “HIV/AIDS” Youth Day as part of a city-wide week of prayer for “HIV/AIDS.” On March 12, 1996, David Hodge was hired as the first full time Minister of Christian Education.
On March 28-30, 1996, a Music and Arts Workshop was held at Ray of Hope. The keynote speaker was Pastor Jonathan Alvarado of Total Grace Christian Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Rev. Alvarado’s wife, Evangelist Toni G. Alvarado and Rev. Pam Smith of Victory in Jesus Ministries served as instructors and facilitators.
On April 21, 1996, the Outreach Ministry sponsored a voter registration drive through its community empowerment efforts and on April 22, 1996, the Christian Men’s Fellowship (CMF) presented “Man Power.” The guest speaker was Rev. Dr. William Harris of the Arming Men of Faith Ministries.
Each Monday, from April 29, 1996 to May 21, 1996, the Christian Women’s Fellowship (CWF) presented women’s emphasis period. The guest speakers were Pastor Collette Gunby of Green Pastures Christian Ministries, Decatur, Georgia; Pastor Jessica Ingram of Oak Grove AME Church, Detroit, Michigan; Pastor Irene Harvey of Fountain Memorial AME Church, Clarkston, Georgia and Pastor Elaine Flake of Allen AME Church, Jamaica, New York.
On May 6, 1997, Helen Branch was hired as the first full time Minister of Outreach. In November of this same year the mortgage was burned on the Rainbow Drive property.
On April 19, 1998, Gloria McCall was hired as the first Minister of Music for the Children’s Church.
In 1999, 45 persons traveled to Jamaica to participate in the Daughter’s of Rizpah Medical Mission trip. The vision for the Hope through Health Clinic was birthed at this time. On March 8, 1999, Melvin Drake was hired as the first full time Business Manager. On September 7, 1999, Derrick Hill became the first full time Minister to Youth and Young Adults. On November 1, 1999, Sean Barnave became the first Director of Multimedia.
In May 2000, Lt. Carlton Philips was hired as the first Director of Security. In 2000, the Snapfinger Road Campus was purchased, moving from a 350-seat sanctuary to one that seats 3,500; from one building to four. The campus includes a Main Sanctuary, Chapel, Christian Education building, and the Stephens Ministry building. The Sanctuary was dedicated in September 2000.
In 2001, the 700 Club honored the Ray of Hope as the Church of the Week. The Ray of Hope was also recognized in the book, Excellent Protestant Congregations: The Guide to the Best Places and Practices, as one of 300 most excellent Protestant Congregations in the United States. Only three churches in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are part of the list.
On January 2, 2002, John DeBruhl was hired as the first Athletic Director. On February 12, 2002, the City of Hope Ministries, Inc. was incorporated and on August 14, 2002, the City of Hope Ministries, Inc. received its 501(c)3 status. On December 30, 2002, Keith Somerville was hired as the first Program Manager of the church.
In 2003, the Community-wide Senior Summit for Senior Adults of Dekalb County was held at the Ray of Hope. Ray of Hope held its first series of special leadership training sessions by Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas on February 1, 2003 and Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale and Dr. Samuel Chand for the remainder of 2003. In March 9-12, 2003, the Ray of Hope held its first Kingdom Summit with guest speakers: Bishop Paul Morton, Sr., from New Orleans, LA and Bishop Harold Ray from West Palm Beach, FL.
In March 2004, Ray of Hope co-hosted, along with five other African-American churches, an International Missions Conference. On May 12, 2004, Dr. Hale was privileged to serve as the first female Chaplain of the Day in the United States House of Representatives and the first female to serve as Chaplain of the Day for the opening session of the Georgia State Senate in June. On September 5, 2004, Kimberly Knight was hired as the first full time Director of Food Services.
In February 2005, Dr. Hale appeared on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s “Praise the Lord Program” and was honored by “Sisters in the Spirit” recognizing her sacrifice, dedication, strength, wisdom, and ability to bring about order and change in ministry and the community. Dr. Hale was also mentioned in the Atlanta Business Journal as one of Atlanta’s most influential African American Pastors. On April 29, 2005, Dr. Hale received the Spiritual Enlightenment Award during the 13th Annual Trumpet Award Prayer Breakfast held in Atlanta, Georgia. In September 2005, Dr. Hale served as the
convener for her first “Women in Ministry Conference” that hosted women from various stages in ministry. This conference was attended by ministers from all over the United States.
The year 2005 has been an extraordinary year for the Ray of Hope and especially the City of Hope Ministries, Inc. Due to the continued growth and expansion of our ministry and facilities, Albert Morris was hired as the first Facilities Manager on March 25, 2005. In June 2005, Dekalb County’s approval was received for the rezoning of the Browns Mill Road property to build senior citizen housing. City of Hope Ministries, Inc. also entered into a contract with Columbia Residential and Noel Khalil for the construction of the housing in 2007. In August 2005, 50 medical professionals and others traveled with Dr. Hale to Nairobi, Kenya to partner with St. Andrews Presbyterian Churches for three Hope Through Health Clinics. Also in 2005, a Swaziland orphanage was named after Ray of Hope Christian Church. In December 2005, Eddie L. Bridgeman was hired as the first Chief Financial Officer.
In January 2006, Ray of Hope began its first series of Leadership Conclaves facilitated by Dr. Hale. These conclaves are designed to develop and strengthen leadership skills both spiritually and practically. On February 25, 2006, Ray of Hope held its first Kingdom Business Breakfast with guest speakers George Fraser and Robert Yancy.
On March 1, 2006, Ray of Hope Christian Church was one of the official locations for Tavis Smiley’s “Covenant with Black America Tour” The Covenant tour is a series of community town hall meetings hosted by Tavis Smiley focusing on how we, as individuals and as a community can implement national and local solutions to the top ten issues of greatest concern to African Americans.
On June 1, 2006, Sharon Sanders was hired as the first Chief Operations Officer. On June 8-11, 2006, Ray of Hope had its first joint youth conference, “Extreme Takeover.” Participating youth ministries included Ray of Hope Christian Church, Light of the World Christian Church, Indianapolis, IN., and Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, Memphis, TN.
On June 23, 2006, in celebration of the 20th Church Anniversary, Ray of Hope hosted its first outdoor concert, “Hallelujah Under the Stars” on the 2778 Snapfinger Road campus. Featured guests included Vickie Winans, Broderick Rice, and Kevin Bond and F.L.O.W.
On June 25, 2006, the anniversary celebration culminated with a special 10:00 a.m. worship service with guest speaker Bishop Tom G. Benjamin, Jr. and guest artist RiZen. The anniversary theme for this historic day was: “A Score of Achievements – A Lifetime of Possibilities.”
On September 18-21, 2006, Dr. Hale hosted her second annual Women in Ministry Conference at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel.
On October 29, 2006, the 2:9 and Chosen Generation ministries introduced the “Hale Hustle” in honor of Dr. Hale’s birthday.
On November 6, 2006, the Daughters of Destiny ministry presented “Straight Talk” with renowned author, scholar, preacher and teacher, Dr. Renita Weems.
On December 15, 2006, Ray of Hope presented “A Ray-diant Christmas”. This Black & White Extravaganza held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel featured Kevin Bond and F.L.O.W as special guest performer and Ray of Hope’s own Natalie Ragins and Friends.
On January 22, 2007, the Daughters of Destiny ministry began the year focusing on health with Dr. Chandra Britt-Armstrong and fitness instructor Carla Fields. On February 16-21, Ray of Hope hosted its fifth annual Kingdom Summit Revival with guest speakers: Rev. William L. Lee, Evangelist Sandra Riley, Rev. Dr. Jacqueline McCullough, and Rev. Maurice Watson.
On March 17, 2007, Ray of Hope implemented The Ray of Hope Book Club with a discussion on The Politics of Jesus.
On April 16, 2007, the Daughters of Destiny ministry presented “Relationship Rescue” with Dr. Grace Cornish-Livingstone.
On May 3-6, 2007, the Daughters of Destiny Women’s Conference was held on the campus of Ray of Hope. The theme of this conference was “Building Relationships That Last.”
In May, 2007, hundreds of children attended the Hope Kidz Care Children’s Health Fair sponsored by the City of Hope Ministries at Dunaire Elementary School. The fair was designed to provide free screenings and health education for disadvantaged families who do not have the means for adequate preventative care.
On June 17, 2007, Dr. Hale along with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia ordained Antoinette (Toni) Del Kemp into Christian Ministry.
On June 24, 2007, Ray of Hope celebrated its 21st anniversary with guest speaker Rev. Dr William Curtis of Mt Ararat Baptist Church, Pittsburgh, PA and guest psalmist Byron Cage. The celebration concluded with a Block Fest on the church grounds which included a carnival, vendors, entertainment, and other exciting events.
On July 1, 2007, Rev. Taft Q. Heatley was hired as the first Executive Pastor.
On August 4, 2007, Dr. Hale and Rev. Connie Jackson, executive Director of City of Hope Ministries, participated in a “first nail ceremony” as the City of Hope teamed up with “Habitat for Humanity” to build a house in the Winslow Crossing Community for a mother and her four children.
On Sunday, August 12, 2007, Ray of Hope celebrated the 28th Ordination Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale will a festive worship service featuring guest violinist Ken Ford and special presentations made by the Worship and Arts Ministry. Dr. Hale received a proclamation declaring it “Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale Day” from Congressman, Hank Johnson from the 4th Congressional District. Following the worship service members of the church joined Dr. Hale at Six Flags Over Georgia for a time of fun and fellowship.
On August 24-26, 2007, The Hope Through Health Clinic was held at the Hancock Central High School in Sparta, Georgia. 250 volunteers participated in providing healthcare to the citizens of Hancock County, the 3rd poorest county in Georgia.
On September 14-16, 2007, 17 persons participated in a mission trip organized by the Youth and Young Adult ministry. The group of volunteers led by Dr. Cynthia L. Hale and Rev. Derrick Hill traveled to New Orleans, LA to help repair homes and churches that had been devastated by the impact of Hurricane Katrina.
On September 17-20, 2007, Dr. Hale hosted her 3rd Annual Women in Ministry Conference at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel. 227 persons participated in variety of workshops and plenary sessions designed for developing, coaching, and mentoring Christian women for the 21st century.
Ray of Hope hosted a Fall Revival, October 7-10, 2007. The guest speakers included: Rev. Dr Gina M. Stewart, Rev. Dr Walter Malone Jr., Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, and Rev. Dr. Kevin Cosby.
On October 13, 2007, the City of Hope Ministries returned to Dunaire Elementary School for their second Hope Kidz Care Children’s Health Fair.
October 19-21, 2007, the Man on Fire ministry held its fall Intreat, “Strong Man, What Makes You So Strong” with Ray of Hope’s own Kraig T. Murray, Minister to Men and Rev. Kenneth Henry. This event concluded with Sunday worship services with guest speaker, Rev. Jeffery A. Johnson Sr. of Eastern Star Church, Indianapolis, Indiana.
On Sunday October 21, 2007, Dr. Hale and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia ordained Ray of Hope’s seventh candidate, Monica Lynnell Wedlock into Christian Ministry.
On October 27, 2007 Ray of Hope hosted a Deaf Awareness Workshop with Lisa Weems, CI & CT of Baltimore, MD. On October 29, 2007, Daughters of Destiny Presented “Transform Your Financial Future with Carol Hunter, Founder and President of Prosperity Unlimited.
On December 16, 2007, Ray of Hope hosted a Christmas Benefit Concert to help the families of Dunaire Elementary school in Stone Mountain. This concert featured Destiny Praise, Higher Calling, David Walker and High Praise, as well as other special guests. Dunaire Elementary school was adopted by Ray of Hope’s City of Hope Ministries earlier this year.
The 2008 year began with the first Leadership Conclave, January 4-5, 2008. The guest speaker for the year opening leadership training was Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale.
Ray of Hope Christian Church hosted the Dunaire Elementary School Teacher Recognition Luncheon on Monday, January 7, 2008. Each teacher received a gift on behalf of Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale and the Ray of Hope Christian Church.
On Monday, January 21, 2008, the Daughter’s of Destiny Straight Talk was held in the main sanctuary. The guest speaker was Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale.
The Ray of Hope Christian Church launched the Lenten season with a Spring Revival during the week of February 3-6, 2008 with guest revivalist, Rev. Dr. Wayne L. Croft of the Church of the Redeemer Baptist, Philadelphia, PA.
In celebration of lack History month, the Parable Players presented: “Descendents of the Chain Gang: Free Me from these Chains.” This powerful presentation reflected the tremendous accomplishments as well as the negative influences of African American descendents against the milieu of their ancestor’s horrible plight on America’s notorious chain gangs.
On March 16, 2008, the Parable Players presented “Leaning on the Blood” a comedic yet poignant look at what happens when we operate in our own flesh instead of leaning on the blood of Jesus to direct our path. Also on March 16th the City of Hope Ministries Inc. dedicated the completed Habitat for Humanity Home on 5366 Medena Way, Lithonia Georgia. City of Hope Inc. began this project in August 2007.
On Saturday, March 29, 2008, the Men’s Ministry spearheaded the Dunaire School Beautification Project. The men were instrumental in installing a full playground for the children of Dunaire Elementary School.
April 3-5, 2008, Dr. Hale and the Daughters of Destiny hosted their annual Women’s Conference at the Bay Point Marriott Resort in Bay Point Florida. Conference speakers were Rev. Dr. Elaine Flake, Rev. Connie Jackson, Rev. Dr. Carolyn Showell, Rev. Dr. Gina Stewart, Minister Tonya Sumter, Carla Fields, and Minister Sylvia Stroy. The conference concluded on Sunday, April 6, 2008 with a Women’s Day services at both 7:30 am and 10:00 am with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Jessica K. Ingram. The theme for this conference was “DreamGirlz: Desiring God’s Dream.”
On Wednesday, April 9, 2008, Ray of Hope Christian Church and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church co-sponsored a Youth Empowerment Service in the main sanctuary.
On Sunday, April 13, 2008, Ray of Hope Children’s Church presented Friends and Family Day, an extravaganza of praise and worship. A reception was held following the service in the Family Life Center.
The 2nd Leadership Conclave for 2008 was held on Saturday, April 26, 2008. The guest speaker was Rev. Claude Alexander, Senior Pastor of University Park Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC.
On Saturday, May 31, 2008, the Transformers Prayer Summit was held in the Family Life Center. The guest speaker was Rev. Michael Harris.
On Friday, June 6, 2008, the Couples Ministry hosted “An Evening of Romance” in the Family Life Center.
Xtreme Takeover Youth Retreat was held at Epworth by the Sea in Saint Simon Island, June 3-6, 2008.
A full weekend of events was enjoyed by all for the 22nd Anniversary celebration of Ray of Hope Christian Church. The weekend celebration included an “All White Platinum Affair” held on Friday, June 20, 2008 at the Omega World Center, Decatur Ga. and the Annual Golf Tournament sponsored by the Christian Business Leadership Network on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at the Stone Mountain Golf Club. The celebration culminated with the 22nd Anniversary Worship Service on Sunday, June 22, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. with guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Claudette A. Copeland of Destiny Ministries, San Antonio, TX. The anniversary celebration concluded with a Block Fest on the church grounds which included an entertainment, food, games, vendors, and other exciting activities. This historic weekend represents the anniversary theme: “New Beginnings and Still We Rise.”
During the week of June 23-26, 2008, the Village Word Celebration Vacation Bible School was held for all ages on the Ray of Hope Campus.
On June 27, the Youth and Young Adult Ministry hosted the Jump Off and on Sunday June 29, 2009, Xtreme Church was held in the Chapel Sanctuary.
On Saturday, August 9, 2008, the Leadership Conclave was held for the staff and leaders. The guest facilitator was Rev. Dr. William Curtis.
On Sunday, August 10, 2008, Ray of Hope celebrated the 29th Ordination Anniversary of Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale with a festive worship service featuring guest preacher Rev. Dr. William Curtis. Special presentations were made by the Worship and Arts Ministry. Commendations were received from the City of Decatur and tributes from members of the City Council. The church joined Dr. Hale at the Stone Mountain Park for a time of food, fun, and fellowship.
Dr. Hale gave the opening invocation at the Democratic National Convention on August 26, 2008.
On September 22-25, 2008, Dr. Hale hosted her 4th Annual Women in Ministry Conference at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel. Over 250 women participated in variety of workshops and plenary sessions designed for developing, coaching, and mentoring Christian women for the 21st century.
Rev. E. Dewey Smith, Senior Pastor of Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church in Decatur, Georgia was the guest speaker for the Transformers Men’s Ministries quarterly Prayer Summit on Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 7:00 a.m. in the Family Life Center.
Ray of Hope hosted a Fall Revival, October 5-7, 2008. The guest speaker was Rev. Jasmine Sculark, Senior Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in York, PA.
Dr. Hale’s birthday was celebrated on Sunday, October 26, 2009 with a reception in the Family Life Center following the 10:00 a.m. service.
The Transformers Men’s Ministry hosted an Intreat on Friday, November 14, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. in the Family Life Center and on Saturday, November 15, 2009 with empowerment sessions on finance, relationships (married and single) and employment. The Intreat culminated on Sunday, November 16, 2009 with Men’s Day at the Ray. The guest speaker was Rev. Anthony L. Trufant, Senior Pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY.
The Outreach Ministry hosted a holiday store on Saturday, December 13, 2008. The store was for the benefit of families of children attending Dunaire Elementary School. Personal shoppers, customer service representatives, buyers, greeters and retailer designer volunteered to design and operate the store, held in the Family Life Center. Many families were blessed and received much needed holiday items.
The Children’s Ministry and the Parable Players presented “Heaven Came Down” an original play by Min. Gloria McCall, Minister to Children on Sunday December 21, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. The play included great acting performances, music, and dancing.
Watch Night Service 2008 was held on Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 10:00 a.m. A joyous celebration through praise, worship, prayer and the Word was enjoyed by all.
The 2009 year began with a leadership weekend. A leadership fellowship was held at the Suburban Lanes Bowling Alley on Friday, January 2, 2009. The weekend continued with the first Leadership Conclave of the year with Pastor, Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale as the facilitator. The leaders were anointed by Dr. Hale and the ministers during the Anointing Service on Sunday, January 4, 2009. The church theme for 2009 is “Serving This Present Age: Extravagant Worship…Extraordinary Service.”
The Christian Education department began the 2009 year with a new name under the newly adapted “CL Hale Bible Institute” which will replace the name “Hope Institute for Christian Discipleship.”
The Transformers Men’s Ministry held a Prayer Summit on January 10, 2009 at Ray of Hope Christian Church.
On Sunday, January 11, 2009, the Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry held a kick off and recruitment rally in the Main Sanctuary vestibule with festive décor and ministry information.
On January 21, 2009 in Washington, DC, our esteemed and honorable Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale read the scripture at the National Worship Service in the milieu of the inaugural activities of the 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.
The Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry held its annual Sister2Sister gathering on Friday, January 30, 2009 with guest speakers Rev. Dr. Elaine Flake, Senior Pastor of The Allen Cathedral of New York and Rev. Dr. Cynthia L. Hale.
The Spring Revival was kicked off on Sunday, February 1, 2009 with guest speaker Rev. Dr. Gina Stewart, Senior Pastor of Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee. Immediately following the morning service, a Super Bowl Tailgate Party was held on the Ray of Hope grounds with food and fun for the entire family. Other revival speakers were: Monday, February 2, 2009, Rev Dr Freddie Haynes, Senior Pastor of Friendship West Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas and Tuesday, February 3, 2009, Rev E Dewey Smith of Greater Traveler’s Rest Baptist Church, Decatur Georgia. The revival theme was, “A Time of Consecration.”
On Saturday, February 7, 2009, the Singles Ministry hosted a kick off social that was enjoyed by all who attended.
The first Ministry Fair of 2009 was held on Sunday, February 9th, in the vestibule of the Main Sanctuary. Members were exposed to over 50 ministries and encouraged to engage and commit to serving in ministry.
The Transformers Men’s Ministry hosted their first Koinonia (fellowship) on Saturday, February 14, 2009 in the Family Life Center.
On Sunday, February 15, 2009, Ray of Hope hosted the award winning orchestra from Southwest Dekalb High School. Ray of Hope members along with the faculty and students of the high school enjoyed an afternoon of a variety of types of music.
On Sunday, February 22, 2009, in celebration of Black History month, the Parable Players presented: “The Great Disconnect.” This powerful presentation was written by member Malkia Wanjiro.
The Daughters of Destiny Ministry held their WOW Women Book Review and Mochas Too with guest speaker, Dr. Sharon Ottey, renowned writer and speaker, on Monday, February 23, 2009.
Dr. Hale and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Georgia ordained Ray of Hope’s eighth candidate, Tonya Parrish Sumter into Christian Ministry on March 8, 2009.
The Worship and Arts ministry hosted a retreat on March 14, 2009 with Rev. Trini Massi as the guest clinician. The retreat culminated on Sunday, March 15, 2009 with Rev. Massi as the guest director and psalmist.
On March 21, 2009, the Transformers Men’s Ministry worked to “Clean-Up Dekalb” in association with other local churches and civic groups.
The Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry held the Simply Fit Health & Wellness Expo for Women on Saturday, March 28, 2009. The event was attended by 5 physicians from local area hospitals who provided live lectures on Breast Health, Heart Health, Diabetes, Weight Management, and HIV/AIDS. The event was also attended by 20 health & wellness exhibitors sharing health information, screenings, literature, massage therapy, cooking demonstrations, aerobics workouts, reflexology, nutritional giveaways, juice bar, etc. There were 71 women and 26 volunteers from Ray of Hope Christian Church and the surrounding area who attended or served during the event.
On Sunday, March 29, 2009, the Children’s Church hosted Friends and Family Day in the Chapel Sanctuary and a reception following in the Family Life Center. Over 300 children and families attended.
Holy Week services were planned to prepare the church body for the celebration of the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. On Wednesday, April 8, 2009, the Youth, Young Adult, and College Students presented H.Y.P.E. Holy Week Youth Praise Explosion in partnership with neighboring churches. Good Friday service was held on Friday, April 10, 2009 with the presentation of “The Seven Last Words.” The Good Friday preachers included Ray of Hope ministers: Elder Jabari Butler, Minister Jerome Case, Minister Donna Gunter, Minister Claire Henry, Rev. Kraig Murray, Rev. Monica Wedlock, Minister Symone Whatley, and Rev. Jacques Wright. On Sunday, April 12, 2009, Ray of Hope celebrated Easter with a Drama presentation entitled: “The Enduring Prayer” written by member Anthony Edwards.
The Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry prepared meals, served meals, and dined with the staff, women, and children at the Hagar’s House Women’s Shelter for seven days during the week of April 12-April 18, 2009. The staff, women, and children at Hagar’s House were grateful to the Ray of Hope Christian Church for its ministry and the experience was rewarding for those who volunteered.
On Saturday, April 25, 2009 the Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry held a Prayer Breakfast where the guest speaker was Bishop Millicent Hunter. More than 150 women from Ray of Hope and the surrounding community enjoyed a glorious time of fellowship, prayer, praise, a full delicious breakfast, and an empowering Word to the Women!
On May 1, 2009, Ray of Hope sponsored TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) Jazz concert with Antonio Allen, Jazz Saxophonist and Royal Marshall, guest MC at Stonecrest Mall.
The Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry of the Ray of Hope Christian Church hosted their Women’s Conference at the Chateau Élan Winery and Resort in Braselton, GA., May 14-16, 2009. This year’s conference attracted nearly 300 women for this phenomenal weekend getaway which featured: world class speakers, gorgeous venue, gourmet meals, tranquil settings, massage therapy, retail therapy (shopping), winery tours, gourmet cooking classes, rock climbing, glorious times of praise, prayer, worship, fun, and fellowship. The women’s conference weekend culminated during our Women’s Day at the “Ray” with a 100 plus voice choir and the Rev. Dr. Carolyn Ann Knight as our guest preacher.
On Friday, June 5, 2009, Ray of Hope hosted its 2nd TGIF (Thank God It’s Friday) for 2009 with featured performer Jazz Trumpeter, “Milkshake” at Stonecrest Mall.
Graduates were recognized on Sunday, June 7, 2009 during the 10:00 a.m. service. Over 50 persons received gifts and were personally congratulated by Dr. Hale.
The Young Adult Ministry held a “Meet and Greet” social on Sunday, June 14, 2009 after the 7:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. services in the Family Life Center.
On Friday, June 19 2009, the Daughters of Destiny Women’s Ministry hosted a night at the movies social. The event was held at Northlake Festival Movie Tavern where women gathered for fellowship and dinner during the movie. Many women met to enjoy good food, fun, and fellowship with their sisters and friends.
The Transformers Men’s Ministry hosted a Father’s Day Breakfast at 7:00 a.m. in the Family Life Center on Saturday, June 20, 2009. Men enjoyed a hardy breakfast and dialogue.
The Ray of Hope Christian Church celebrated its 23rd Anniversary with events for the entire church and community. The 23rd Anniversary theme “Steadfast and Sure of What We Hope For” represents the commitment and faith in the promises of God for our church and lives. The celebration commenced with Dance Jubilee 2009, “Extreme Faith” on Tuesday, June 23, 2009. The celebration continued with the “All White Platinum Affair” held on Friday, June 26, 2009 at the Holiday Inn Decatur Conference Plaza, Decatur, Ga. The celebration culminated with the 23rd Anniversary Worship Service on
Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 10:00 a.m. with guest speaker, Rev. Dr. William Curtis and guest psalmist Rev. Trini Massi., Mt Ararat Baptist Church, Pittsburg, PA. The anniversary celebration concluded with a BlockFest on the church grounds with entertainment by Ron James, Jazz Saxophonist, MC – Brian Egeston, food, games, vendors, and other exciting activities.