EAST ORANGE, NJ – Former NFL wide receiver Lonnie Allgood has been drafted by New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange to be the guest speaker for its 10th Annual New Found Life (NFL) Sunday Service.  “We are most thrilled and honored to have Mr. Allgood to be part of this tremendous milestone for the church.”  “He is a perfect example of what can be accomplished through perseverance,” said Rev. Dwight D. Gill, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange.

Mr. Allgood learned early in life that big dreams, along with hard work, always pay off.  He was first in his family to attend college and graduate with a degree in engineering from Syracuse University on a full scholarship and later drafted into the NFL where he played for the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bulls for several years.  After retiring from professional football, Mr. Allgood formed the Dreams for Kids organization.  The organization helps youth reach their desired goals through the use of professional athletes, entertainers, business and community leaders who serve as role models in educating and motivating youth.

Traditionally, morning worship services on Sundays are attended by more women than men.  Yet, New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange did not stand on the sidelines in its efforts over the years to reverse this gender gap.  Just like Mr. Allgood, the church believed its continued determination to achieve this particular goal would pay off.  “Our church decided to proactively tackle this concern by creating innovative services such as NFL Sunday ten years ago, which is now very popular and successful,” explained Rev. Gill.

Sign Up for E-News

“Our church continues to see an increase in the number of men who attend services and participate in the church’s various activities.”  According to Rev. Gill, there has been a significantly increase in the church’s male membership since the start of New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange’s NFL Sunday events in 2006.

The goal of the service is both spiritual and action-oriented. “Men attending the event will have the opportunity to listen and learn how spirituality can play a key role in helping them with their daily challenges and responsibilities,” noted Rev. Gill.  Hands-on service projects are offered to connect with men’s interests, skills and hobbies as well as their spiritual and emotional needs.

The football theme will be evident throughout the church and the service including deacons serving as referees; members of the teen dance ministry performing as cheerleaders; a male choir dressed in football jerseys singing “men friendly songs” and a sermon delivered by Rev. Gill that highlights the similarity between the church body and a football team.  “It’s all about communicating with men in a way they understand, but with a spiritual emphasis,” explained Rev. Gill.

The event will be held on Sunday, January 31 at 11:00 a.m. at the church, located at 144 Norman Street in East Orange.  The public is invited and encouraged to wear their favorite football team’s jersey.  The celebration also includes a pre-game show at 7:45 a.m. and a free, post tailgate party immediately following the program.  For more information, please call the church office at (973) 678-6710.

About New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange:

New Hope Baptist Church of East Orange, which has a rich history and nearly 2,000 members, has been serving the spiritual and social needs of the community for many years.  The church provides numerous Christian education programs and community outreach initiatives such as a Food Pantry Program and programs for Youth, Seniors, Women and Health.