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The City of Hope, a place of worship for the Brooklyn community

Posted at 7:22 PM, Jul 03, 2024

BALTIMORE — Hope.

That’s what André Nance sees when he looks down West Bay Avenue in the Brooklyn area of Baltimore. That’s where he pastors the City of Hope Church.

“God brought us to the community that seems to be forgotten about, to be the hope and the bring hope to a community that feels like there’s no hope,” Nance says.

In June 2023, his congregation moved into this church building that had been long vacant.

A month later, the worst shooting in Baltimore’s history happened.

“God works in mysterious ways,” he says. “The Lord allowed us to be able to purchase a building right, two minutes away from where July 2 happened. And he gave us the name, ‘City of Hope.’”

Nance and some members of his church went to the Brooklyn Day event held Tuesday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. It hits close to home for Nance. His youth pastor lives in Brooklyn Homes, where the shooting occurred.

“We were able to be out there to pray with people, to talk with people,” he says. “Also to give them mental health services.”

While he says the event was nice, Nance says people asked him, “What’s next?”

“I said, ‘Well here’s my flyer. We are City of Hope and we will make sure it will not be once a year,” he says. “Now that City of Hope is here in Brooklyn, we’re bringing hope to this community every week, not once a year.”

This is the second church Nance oversees. He’s pastored New Mount Sinai Church in Park Heights for a decade. The Pimlico Road church is known for its outreach activities, which they’re bringing to the Brooklyn church.

“As a church right here in the heart of the community, we want to do our part,” Nance says.

City of Hope Church does back-to-school and food drives. They provide mental health services through a counseling service. And they’re starting a dance school.

In August, they’re bringing in dumpsters for a community clean-up day.

“Those who know us from Park Heights know we have some of the best fried fish you ever wanna eat,” he says. “So we’re gonna fry some fish, hamburgers, hotdogs, and just have a wonderful day outside with cleaning the community, cutting the grass, weedwacking, getting the community nice and clean.”

Nance showed us a boarded-up house next door the church owns. Not only is it an eyesore, it’s a hazard. It’s been set on fire twice in the past year. He wants to beautify the neighborhood and the dilapidated house must go.

“Our plan is to tear down this whole house,” he says. “We’re gonna level it out, fence it in, and have a park area here and have it cleaned up for the community.”

They need more volunteers, though, and donations to get it done. He also shows us the work they’ve done so far in renovating the church and points out they’ve still got a lot more work to do. They employed neighbors to do the repairs.

“It helped us to build a connection with our Hispanic community in serving with them, allowing them to come in and work,” he says. “We support them, and they support us.”

They’ve also partnered with a Spanish-speaking congregation, Voice of God Pentecostal Church. And together, the two churches are reaching out to help families and youth. On July 14th, they’re planning a joint worship service and community meal.