Gospel Phenom Hits Town

A gospel-music phenom named Deon Kipping came to town and rocked the house for a special Mother’s Day worship prayer experience, in celebration of Ascension Sunday, the seventh Sunday after Easter.

Kipping paid a special visit to congregants of Varick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, who held their weekly services not at their usual Dixwell Avenue home, but at the Hillhouse field house to accommodate some 1,000 people who came to worship.

Kipping, born in Bridgeport, is a songwriter, singer, and producer. Kipping, along with his band New Covenant, released an album and later a solo album.

Click the play arrow at the top of this story to watch a sampling of the songs from the service.

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posted by: robn on May 14, 2013  10:34am

1) isn’t it illegal for a non- profit to host campaign activity?
2) a church service in a public school?

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on May 14, 2013  4:48pm

To Robn’s point, the Supreme Court has consistently ruled that religious observations can be held in public schools as long as such observations are not led by school officials (e.g. teachers, administrators, etc). It’s the reason that student groups such as the Fellowship of Christian athletes are allowed to exist and operate within schools. While this service seems to dance close to the line of entanglement, allowing community leaders who are also seeking office to participate doesn’t run afoul of the Court’s decisions in cases like Lemon v. Kurtzman.

posted by: robn on May 14, 2013  5:11pm


Very interesting. Thank you. I was more wondering if the congregation was paying for use of the public facility and if events like these are the reason why candidate Carolina suggested in last nights debate that his high school facilities weren’t available for after school youth programs.

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on May 14, 2013  6:48pm

Robn: NHPS receive grants to host afterschool programs that are run internally. Outside groups cannot “contract” space for their own individual programs. They must be done in conjunction with and under the direction of the host school.

posted by: robn on May 14, 2013  8:01pm


I’m confused. If the religious event wasn’t a facilities rental and if it wasnt a school sponsored after school program yet it was done “in conjunction with and under the direction of the host school,” then doesn’t that mean that Principal Carolina (or to be fair, some other school official who signed off on this)was illegally co-hosting a religious event in a school facility?
If not, what’s the metric for either allowing or disallowing an outside group from using a public school facility for whatever they want like, for instance, a punk rock concert or a ritual animal slaughter?