By Gary Kohatsu
The New Earth Christian Church has founder Larry Dozier filled with hope
Larry Dozier, a longtime member of the Hollypark United Methodist Church, did something during the pandemic that few outsiders could predict. He started his own church.
The New Earth Christian Church, a virtual religious service, was started in early 2021.
“I had been pondering it for a while after my assignment at St. John’s United Methodist Church,” Dozier said in an email exchange earlier this year. “I had begun several community projects there and I felt like I did not complete them. I knew the position was temporary but when it was time for reassignment, the District Superintendent made the move without much discussion or input from me.”
Dozier reasoned there had to be a better way to handle assignments.
“There was just not much communication during my entire three years there,” Dozier said. “Being a manager myself for many years, I knew there was a better way to handle transitions. And while I love the United Methodist system, I felt it better for me to work independently of it, as I saw how similar situations were handled about the same, so I thought it better to start and form a more perfect system.
He said that he felt compelled to follow the Lord’s calling to complete the work he was assigned. His decision to start his own church came about before COVID-19 hit in March 2020.
Dozier said the Bishop instructed all Cal-Pac United Methodist churches temporarily discontinue worship. At the time in January, 2021, Dozier said his relationship with HUMC Pastor Cavalain Hawkins was good. (Hawkins has since left the HUMC).
Hollypark United Methodist Church like other religious institutions turned to virtual meetings during the pandemic.
“Before I left, I had a discussion with [Hawkins], because I was committed to helping at Hollypark while he was there,” Dozier said. “So, he was fine with it and in fact offered to assist in anyway.”
Dozier put off starting his own church to help HUMC transition to a virtual service.
“We never missed a Sunday, because I was already using Zoom at St. Johns, one of the things those members complained to the DS about, but they too had to start using Zoom.”
Dozier stayed with HUMC to help train Zoom technicians. Once that task was completed, he said it was time to get his own church rolling.
After completing the necessary paperwork, Dozier opened The New Earth Christian Church on March 20,2021.
Dozier and wife Erma still hold membership at HUMC and support the church financially, but to a lesser degree than when they were full-time congregants.
“Some of the members at Hollypark attend my Bible study and a few attend our Worship service, some from time-to-time; others more regularly,” he said.
Larry and Erma Dozier attended the welcoming celebration for the new HUMC pastor, Rev. Dr. Edward Hawthorne on July 10.
Dozier said he has no plans to sever his relationship with the UMC.
“My goal is to continue to work with Hollypark and other UMCs where we can work together,” he said. “I’m still the vice president of United Methodist Men for the Western Jurisdiction of the UMC, which covers the western United States, including the Hawaiian, Islands.
As of early 2022, Dozier said He had about 30 regular members. He added that about 10 Hollypark members were “closely affiliated with his church, while still remaining active members of HUMC.
These cross-members regularly attend The New Earth bible study and intermittently, worship service.
He said all are welcome to his church, but refrains from any ac- tive recruiting.
“I have made it a point to stay away from trying to win over members from Hollypark,” Dozier said. “There are plenty of potential members to appeal to rather than compete with our sister church. All are welcome to attend our special programs and they do, but I have never tried to entice a single person from Hollypark to join with TNECC…and I never shall.”
He said that he has had a few surprised along the way.
“When we decided to start the church, we wrote a list of prospective members from friends and relatives,” Dozier said. “Many of the prospects we thought would come aboard have not, yet, others of whom we had no idea have joined.”
He said he handles challenges with “prayer, planning, action, and more prayer. It works.”
The New Earth Christian Church does not have a physi- cal address (as of March 2022), Dozier said in his email.
“We hold all worship services and Bible studies via Zoom,” he said. “We will explore obtaining a brick and mortar at the right time. In the foreseeable future, however, we plan to worship via Zoom.
His church website is newearthchristian.org.
Worship Service is on Sunday at 10 a.m.; Sunday school, 11:30 a.m.; Men Only Rap Session,
Tuesday, 6 p.m.; and Bible study, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.
Dozier said his church is non-denominational, however, much of what he teaches and believes is same at HUMC.
“We use the same liturgical calendar, and our worship services are somewhat similar, but we are evolving, so changes are in the works,” Dozier said.
As of March 2022, Dozier said shared his staff roster: CEO/President and Senior Pastor, Larry H. Dozier, Vice President/Asst. Pastor, The Rev. Patrick Smith, Associate Pastor, The Rev. Albert Anderson, Secretary, Winnie Smith Treasurer, Erma L. Dozier Technical Director: Jeremy Garland Music Director, Jerry Dozier, Administrative Assistant, Jennifer Ruiz
Having his own church has been a big step, but the rewards are worth it for Dozier.
“I feel awesome, that I’m doing exactly what I was born to do,” he said. “I feel that I’m following the spiritual direction that Jehovah, the God of the Bible, wants me to do: Make him the preeminent one in my life, make disciples for Him by spreading His Gospel, sharing this Gospel as often and as widely as I can, and prove Jesus to all who will listen.
“What I’m doing, I would do for free. In fact, for many years, I did do it free. My first paid position as a messenger was the appointment at St. Johns. Of course, we are paid when we sing, but this is spreading the Gospel in a different way,” he said.”
For now, Dozier and his 12-member board are happy to stay virtual.
“When we decide its time, the objective will be to purchase, however, we will be open to whatever is feasible at the time,” he said. “We have two sites that are available to us now, but our board (12 members) feels there is no need to spend money in this area just yet. When the time is right, though, we shall. Two of the proposed sites are in Los Angeles, however, we’d prefer a site in the South Bay, preferably, Gardena.”
Dozier puts his faith in God to guide him through all the new challenges facing a startup church. He said that his church started with an annual projected budget of $30,000. Funds were raised through donations, tithes and offerings.
“If one does things in accor- dance with His will and there is a strong urging to do it, take the step and God will provide,” he said. “I have found this to be true over and over again. Sure enough, our first year’s annual budget projection is already covered with our tithes and offerings. And next years budget will be an increase of 100 percent. That, too, is looking good already.”
Friends told Dozier when he launched his church, “What took you so long?” or “I was wondering when you were going to start.” Others said, “I want to see you succeed.”
Dozier said: “They have made handsome donations and we see this continuing. We have not begun the grant writing efforts yet, this too, will be a part of our development effort.”
With all that he’s learned in the past few years, Dozier said that the only thing he would do different is the launch time.
“If I were to do this again, the only real thing I can think of is that I would start earlier,” he said.
For logon and other information, call 424-340-9007 or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, interested persons can visit the website: newearthchristian.org.
Vocalist Davis-Wells joins TNECC as new minister of music
Accomplished vocalist and pianist Crystal Davis-Wells has accepted the position of Minister of Music at The New Earth Christian Church (TNECC), The ZOOM Church, based in Gardena, Senior Pastor Larry Dozier said in July.
Dozier said that he’s excited to have Davis join the TNECC Family. “We’re fortunate to have her as we are a relatively new church and still in our formative stage,” he said. “Ms. Davis will prove to be a great asset to our ministry.”
Pastor Dozier said that Davis’ arrival also signals big events coming the TNECC.
“While we are currently meeting via ZOOM only for our worship services and Bible studies, we will be hosting several live events such as concerts and workshops,” Dozier said. “And we have a TNECC Ensemble al- ready. Ms. Davis will be instrumental in guiding these ministries. [She] is a teacher, mentor, minister of music and a gifted woman of God.”
Davis-Wells began studying piano at age 9, under jazz pianist Elmer Waller Jr. and at the age of 12, started her first Gospel Choir.
Like many Gospel Singers, she pursued a secular music career, which afforded her the opportunity to work with the legendary Smokey Robinson and his sister, jazz lyricist Lady Rose Ella Jones, but secular music was not her calling.
In 1990, she started J.C. Records and began doing what she did best, Gospel Music.
With the help of Gospel Recording artist and producer Kenny Smith, she produced a two-songs cassette on her newly formed choir, “The Kingdom Kids,” and soon after released a music video, “Hurry Up.”
Davis-Wells has received numerous awards and recognition for her musical contributions.
She has hosted weekly radio and cable TV shows.
“Ms. Davis currently hosts a weekly radio show, ‘Wednesdays Woman Knows,’ Dozier said. “She’s also the founder and executive director of the Family Love Outreach Workshop, which presents performing arts, socio-economics, and prayer work- shops for families, artists, and entrepreneurs.”
She will be the third new hire at TNECC. The organization has hired a technical director, an administrative assistant, and now a minister of music.
TNECC holds Sunday Wor- ship service at 10 a.m.; Men Only Rap Session, Tuesday, 6 p.m.; Prayer Line, Wednesday, 9:30 a.m.; Bible study, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.
For log on information call 424-340-9007 or visit our website: newearthchristian.org.