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Waterport church rocks open mic

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

WATERPORT – Nicole Washington of Albion leads a group in singing “Let It Rise” during the first open mic at The Lord’s House on Route 279 in Waterport tonight. Washington’s 16-year-old daughter, Olivia, plays the keyboards in back.

Several singers took turns performing Christian-themed songs in the church, which opened in October last year in a former United Methodist building.

Washington and her husband David are co-owners of Godpazz. They would like to do more Christian-based open mic events at other venues in the area.

“People think church is just ‘Amazing Grace,’ but there is a lot more,” said Mr. Washington, a record producer. “We’re trying to unify the neighborhood.”

At the open mic events, he welcomes contemporary gospel, jazz, hip hop and country, which can all be done while spreading a Christian message.

Darneisha Thomas, 17, of Batavia brought many at the church to tears with her performance of “You Care For Me.”

Washington’s brother-in-law Eddie English is pastor of The Lord’s House. English and his congregation have continued to work on the building, which had been left vacant for many years. The sanctuary has been repainted, there are new chairs, lights, a chandelier, a ramp leading to the church and other improvements.

The congregation has doubled in size from about 25 when it was meeting in Albion a year ago to about 50 for Sunday services now.

The church wants to do more open mic events in the future, said Rose English, who works alongside her husband in the ministry.

She praised the singers who participated in the debut event tonight. One of the singers, Aretha Jackson of Batavia, sang a moving rendition of “Jesus Loves Me.” Jackson is blind and received a standing ovation.

Aretha Jackson sings “Jesus Loves Me.”