The first-ever gospel expo, sponsored by Tracey Nelloms, owner of Acé Tra & Company, will wrap up a series of community events during the holiday weekend on July 6 from noon to 8 p.m. at the Banquet Under the Stars, 672 Moore's Street.
The expo is being planned with the purpose of bringing the community churches together and to win souls for Christ.
With a seating capacity of 400, Nelloms hopes to draw the churched and un-churched population to a place where everyone can come and feel comfortable.
"People don't attend church for three reasons," Nelloms said. "They are scared to come into a sanctuary because their sin is overwhelming and they don't feel worthy enough, they believe people look down at them or they feel that they don't have anything to wear."
A resident of Newton County since 1992, Nelloms saw first-hand how the community rallied around her and her two sons, Darren and Anthony.
A recipient of a liver transplant, 5-year-old Darren made headlines on May 14, 2006, as readers learned of his miraculous journey to recovery.
During his illness, Nelloms studied medical terminology and became a certified nurse's assistant to understand how to care for her son. The education also provided another source of income by assisting other patients in their homes.
"If I give you life again, will you serve me?" Nelloms said God asked her as she prayed for her son.
"As God reminded me that I professed to love him, he gave me a second chance to go spread the gospel," Nelloms added. "I love the people of Covington. I joined the Chamber of Commerce and I want to give something back to this community.
"My hope is that someone will be born again through the expo. I put out flyers at various churches and locations around town. If only one person shows up, I will have been obedient and done what God told me to do."
Nelloms was raised in a Christian home and accepted Christ in 1992. She was drawn to Christ as she listened to the Rev. Creflo Dollar on television and knew she wanted to be a part of the World Changers Church International. She later joined and served in the choir.
"One of my missions is to be a light for single moms and show God's love," she said in hopes of teaching other single mothers how to find their true gift, support their families and become homeowners.
The Gospel Expo will feature live performance by Infinesse, a contemporary jazz band that plays gospel; Mt. Calvary Baptist Church Choir and Bethlehem Baptist Church Choir. A fashion show presentation by Acé Tra & Co. with models of various sizes is slated for the expo along with a host of vendors in market row displaying purses, Christian T-shirts, arts and crafts and a hair booth with Nairobi products.
"Someone needs to show our ladies how to be ladies," said Nelloms as she described the number of women who look pretty on the outside and are dealing with low self esteem. "The fashion show will be designed to illustrate how to dress appropriately as a Godly woman and will feature models of all sizes."
Born and raised in Dayton, Ohio, Nelloms studied music and dance as a child in hopes of becoming a singer and a model. A 1981 graduate of Col. White High School, she wrote the lyrics to her senior class song, "Farewell, Col. White."
She has been a professional cosmetologist and instructor for the past 18 years and was a manager at Great Clips.
Nelloms would like to devote her life to a full-time ministry. She wrote the lyrics and music in March for her new song, "You Don't Know." Inspired by how God worked through her life, the message is that we don't know what that next person is going through.
She co-produced her album "Eternity Heaven or Hell" with Ulysses G. Salett & Salett Song Productions.
In addition to being a music engineering student at OmniTech Institute, Nelloms is currently studying voice at Clark Atlanta University under the supervision of Crystal Harris.
While attending CAU, she is learning how to perform classical, art songs, spirituals and show tunes. Her first Italian score was "Nel cor più non mi sento" by Giovanni Paisiello. She is a member of the Philharmonic Choir and has performed with several other church choirs.
Nelloms encourages the public to purchase their tickets in advance for $10. Admission at the door is $15 and children under 10 years old can enter free. Food will be served from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The first hundred people to come will receive a complimentary goodie bag. For ticket information, or to reply for the call for models, contact (770) 286-0762; (404) 425-4722; (770) 787-1560.
"My desire is to let people know that our God is alive - we are living testimonies," she said. "I cannot be quiet."