“Preachers of L.A.” turns the spotlight on six celebrity pastors who practice in the city that is, appropriately, known as the City of Angels. In addition to the preachers’ work in the community and with their parishioners, the show highlights the dynamic lives the men lead when away from the pulpit, including the struggles they face as husbands, fathers and friends. The women who stand behind the church leaders are also featured. The cast includes Bishop Noel Jones, the brother of singer Grace Jones, who leads a church full of celebrities; the Rev. Dietrick Haddon who, as the son of a bishop and an evangelist, has been preaching since the age of 11 and conducted the church choir at 13; and Bishop Ron Gibson, who joined a gang by the age of 16 and eventually turned his life around to start a small church that has grown to a congregation of about 4,000 members.
About Bishop Noel Jones: Noel Jones is an American minister. He is the senior pastor of the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, California, which has about 17,000 members, and was formerly the Greater Bethany Community Church. Some may know him as “Bishop,” others as an astute intellectual, a columnist, prolific orator, theatrical producer, and still others as a beloved father, grandfather and loyal friend. No matter your point of reference, there are few places you will travel on this side of heaven without hearing the great name of Bishop Noel Jones. Bishop Jones was born in Spanish Town, Jamaica on January 31, 1950. One of seven children born to Bishop Robert and Marjorie Jones, Noel Jones was raised alongside a diverse array of siblings (one of whom is the famed actress and singer Grace Jones). He once mused, “If I could reconcile and keep peace among us, I can reconcile the Church through the power of God.” Add to this skill of mediation, a strict rearing under Pentecostal tenets, and the enduring of an early childhood abuse, and it should become increasingly clear why God called Bishop Jones into the ministry at the tender age of nineteen. His experiences nurtured his unique call to the ministry of reconciliation and honed his distinct ability to transcend tradition in his delivery of the gospel, through widening spiritual parameters in order to reach diverse people of manifold backgrounds, cultures, and denominations.
A preeminent scholar, Bishop Jones attended St. Jago High School and went on to attain a Bachelors of Science in Theology from Aenon Bible College. At the age of twenty-six, Bishop Jones accepted his first pastorate at Bethel Temple of Longview in Longview, Texas. In June of 1994, Bishop Noel Jones was chosen to succeed the venerable Bishop Robert W. McMurray as Shepard to approximately 1,000 members of Greater Bethany Community church in (South Central) Los Angeles, California. During his tenure, the membership of the church has increased so significantly that in 2003, a new edifice was acquired in Gardena, California. The new sanctuary, now known as “The City of Refuge” accommodates a growing membership of 17,000 who jam the sanctuary five times a week to be invigorated and transformed by the uniquely powerful preaching of this awesome man of God.
A columnist in the nation’s premiere gospel publication, Gospel Today Magazine, Bishop Jones is also a frequent guest on Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and has appeared as a panelist on both C-SPAN and NPR. He has traveled across the world, preaching, lecturing, teaching, encouraging and strengthening the faith of people across the globe from Los Angeles to New York and from London to Africa.
His writings and keen insight continue to be featured in a host of publications worldwide, and he has recently published, “The Battle for the Mind,” (How You Can Understand the Thoughts of God). He has served on the Board of Directors as a resident Bishop for the California District Council 16th Episcopal District of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, Inc., and was honored by the Mayor of Syracuse, New York for aiding his father in the establishment of a City-wide Crusade Day: a multi-cultural, non-denominational conference encouraging the participation of all Syracuse and Central New York residents. At home, his ministry includes rehabilitative programs, flourishing ministries for the deaf, for artists, for singles, for the incarcerated, and for youth and young adults. The ministry also provides social avenues for the fellowship of the saints. One such event included a dinner: “Walking in Excellence,” an evening featuring guest speakers Cornel West, Michael Eric Dyson, and Tavis Smiley.
In 1994, Bishop Jones founded Noel Jones Ministries (NJM) (formerly known as Jesus Alternative Ministries), in an effort to address religion’s inability to offer real relevance to the changing climate of the times. NJM’s primary focus is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Word via media resources. Audio and video messages offer encouragement and salvation to individuals beyond the ministries immediate reach. Some of these same messages may be seen currently on Inspiration Network during his “Fresh Oil” broadcast that airs each Friday morning at 6:30 a.m.
Bishop Jones continues to make an indelible mark on the world, violently reclaiming territory for the Kingdom through his philanthropy, service and social justice efforts. In 2005, Bishop Jones partnered with Urban Holdings, et. al. and launched economic empowerment seminars designed to bring together executive leaders from the business, legal and faith-based arenas. The aim of the two-day workshops is to begin unveiling “spiritual solutions to financial freedom.” These seminars will perpetuate Bishop Jones’ mission to mold his congregation, and anyone who can benefit there from, into powerful mediators in the church, in their communities, and in the world.
Bishop Jones is the proud father of three children: Noel II (Cozzette ), Tifani, and Eric (Angie), and three grandchildren, Lena, Ian, and Oliver.