WHERE WE COME FROM
New Beginnings Christian Fellowship was started in 1971 when a group of Simi Valley residents contacted state officials of our denomination, the Church of God of Cleveland, Tennessee, and asked them to start a local church here. The nearest Church of God locations, at the time, were in San Fernando and Santa Paula, California. The church was started as the Simi Valley Church of God and its first appointed pastors were Pastors Grant and Janice McClung. For a brief period of time the church met in a public school building. The church’s denomination assisted the fledgling congregation to purchase a small ranch property on Sycamore Drive, where the current worship center now occupies. The first chapel was a small addition to the farmhouse garage. Pastor Reynolds and Faye Ritchie assumed lead pastor roles in the fall of 1974. Being both a pastor and a builder by trade, Pastor Ritchie wasted little time in expanding the capacity of the original building and, then, started an aggressive campaign to build what would be the original footprint of today’s main campus. That first main campus building was occupied in 1979. In 1986 Pastor Reynolds Ritchie retired and Pastors Rod and Debbie Ritchie, assumed lead pastor positions. The church’s name was changed to New Beginnings Christian Fellowship that same year. In 2010, at the ages of 85 and 79 respectively, Pastor Reynolds and Faye Ritchie would leave retirement and assume pastorship of the Church of God in Grover City, California (now Grover Beach) until their second retirement in 2018. In 2004 New Beginnings began expansion of its current campus and purchased what is now the church’s office building just south of the worship center. The remodeled two buildings were occupied in 2005. In late 2019 Pastor Rod announced his retirement. In December of 2019 Pastor Dr. Clifton Clarke was contacted by the denomination’s state bishop while he was visiting family in the United Kingdom. The state bishop was calling him to ask if he would be a guest speaker at New Beginnings. At the time, Dr. Clarke and his wife Dr. Marcia Clarke were faculty members at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Dr. Clarke had been seeking the Lord’s guidance about returning to pastoring. After Dr. Clarke’s guest speaking engagement at New Beginnings the state bishop informed the congregation that he was a candidate to assume the pastorship of New Beginnings. On December 15th, 2019, Pastors Dr. Clifton and Dr. Marcia Clarke were unanimously chosen by the New Beginnings congregation to be their new pastors.
WHO WE ARE
- a community of believers
- a multicultural community who celebrates our differences instead of shaming them
- people who really believe in the power of God and want to see others experience His healing and redeeming love
- a group of perfect people
- a judgmental place of religious rhetoric
- people who have it all together or all figured out
WHO WE ARE NOT
Dr. Clifton and Dr. Marcia Clarke
Drs. Clifton and Marcia Clarke are both theologians originally from Nottingham, UK. In their 30+ years of marriage, they have traveled the world as messengers of the Gospel including being missionaries in Ghana, West Africa for over a decade. They have both served as professors of theology at numerous universities and have written a total of 7 books combined. They are the proud parents of Jessica and Joel.
God is real and Jesus is King
We believe God exists in 3 persons: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus was born of a virgin, crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. We believe in the all knowing presence of God that is with us wherever we go. We believe Jesus is the Son of God.
The Holy Spirit is our secret weapon
We believe that through the power of the Holy Spirit, no boundaries exist with what God can do. The Holy Spirit is our advocate and intercessor. We believe in the Holy Spirit is given to every believer and equips us with spiritual gifts used for the glory of God.
Faith is our Key
Our faith in God is how we communicate to God and grow closer to him. It is what allows us to experience Him in His fullness. Apart of this expression of faith is through worship and giving.
Follow the leader
We aim to follow the ultimate example, Jesus Christ by walking in faith, loving others, and serving. As a result, we believe the fruits of the spirit occur (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control). Just as we aim to deepen our physical relationships, we do the same with our spiritual ones spending time getting to know the Father in a real way through prayer, community, and worship.
The Bible is our roadmap
We believe the Bible is the written words of God in human text inspired by the Holy Spirit that tells a story of overwhelming redemption and love. We look to it for guidance and comfort. We trust its words.
We all have sinned and will always fall short, but gratefully we serve an amazing God who rights our wrongs when we repent.
Community is Our Jam
We exist for you and with you. We truly are all in this together. Community for us means we are the Church as an identity and community of believers and not just as a building.