New Berean was established in the summer of 1989 but was born in the heart of God from eternity past. The Lord chose Leroy E. Ricks, Sr. to carry and preach the gospel of Jesus a few years earlier. While working as an inside machinist for a local government agency, God’s appointment of Ricks started through a workplace bible study. He was subsequently invited to the lunchtime study where he was confronted with a truth that would disturb him in his spirit.
“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). They shared with him the truth of the scriptures had concluded that no one was exempt from the wrath of God (Roms 3:10). As he continued to contend with attendees of the bible study, he was told everyone who dies in the flesh without Christ, will ultimately die a second death which will result in an eternal damnation in the lake of fire (Rev. 20:14). Ricks completed his work day unable to shake the truth revealed to him from the word of God and returned home only to ask the Lord to saved his soul.
God used the leaders of the bible study to guide him to their local assembly where he received training, education and nurturing as any newborn babe in Christ should receive. As He grew spiritually, he grew in wisdom and knowledge and began to challenge the elders in the scriptures, God gave him favor with his Pastor where he began his teaching ministry as a Sunday School class teacher. He led the couple’s class and other teaching assignments. Shortly afterwards he was ordained as a deacon and later as an associate to the pastor. After serving as the assistant to the pastor he received and accepted God’s calling of him into the ministry of pastor.
Pastor Ricks prepared for the calling by attending Luther Rice Bible College, Washington Bible College and Tabernacle Bible college where his completed studies and was awarded the bachelor’s degree.
He has continued to grow in the wisdom of the word by being a perpetual student of the scriptures. He is still fascinated and excited as God continues to reveal more of himself to Ricks through the written word. He attributes his faith in the Lord to the teachings of the word (Rom 10:17) and as he has been able to withstand the rigorous demands of the ministry.
His heart’s desire is to remain fearful of the Lord and faithful to his calling. He wants people to know the God of the bible is the eternal and self-existing God who loves his creation to point of offering up his only begotten son, Jesus Christ to die on their behalf and absorb God’s full wrath. He wants them to know that if they would only believe as he had to do, God will save them where they are and not experience that second death, but obtain eternal life.
Pastor Ricks, is married to the former Vanessa Hinton, his high school sweetheart. The two have been married for over 43 years and have 3 sons; Leroy, Jr. (Felicia) , Dr. Lamont (Tracy) & Lance Ricks (Ericka). They also have 4 granddaughters and reside in the city of Chesapeake, Va.
Obituary for Pastor Leroy E. Ricks, Sr.
On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Pastor Leroy Edward Ricks, Sr. was called to his eternal rest in the Heavenly realm by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Leroy Ricks, Sr. was born on August 12, 1951 in Norfolk County, VA (South Norfolk section of Chesapeake) to the late Doris Bell Ricks.
He graduated from Crestwood High School in 1971. While at Crestwood, he excelled at drafting and mechanical drawing. He loved the game of basketball. His work-ethic, tenacity, and dogged perseverance was forged on the hardwood. He championed the position of point guard for the Bombers earning All-City honors. Basketball was his second love, next to his love for his high school sweetheart, Vanessa Hinton.
After graduation, he work at Norfolk Dredging Company, GFM, and Norfolk Naval Air Station as an inside machinist. It was at the Air Station where he encountered Jesus Christ via a bible study. After he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal savior, he joined Calvary Evangelical Baptist Church under the leadership of Wilbur Jones and then under the guidance of Dr. Allen R. McFarland. While at Calvary, Pastor Ricks served as Sunday school teacher and then Sunday School Superintendent, Deacon and Associate Minister. In September of 1989, he and a few faithful men founded New Berean Baptist Church where he faithfully and tirelessly served as the Senior Pastor for 31 years. Great will be his reward!
In preparation for the calling, he attended Washington Bible College, Luther Rice College and Seminary, and later he graduated with a Bachelor of Biblical Education degree from Tabernacle Baptist College & Theological. His favorite scripture that related to his calling to preach was Galatians 1:15-16, which states: “ But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood.”
He was predeceased by his grandmother, Cora Ricks, mother, Doris Bell Ricks-Hargrove, and eldest sister, Dorothy Jean Parker.
He leaves to cherish his beloved memory his high school sweetheart and wife of 49 years, Vanessa Ricks, three adult sons and daughters-in-love, Leroy (Nuke) E. Ricks, Jr. (Felicia) of Suffolk; VA., Dr. Lamont. E. Ricks (Tracey) of Suffolk, VA., and Lance E. Ricks (Ericka) of Suffolk, VA.; four granddaughters, Destini Ricks, Aniyah Ricks, McKenzie Ricks, Areyah Ricks ;a sister, Mary Clayton and brother, Percell Ricks (Selma); New Berean Baptist Church family, pastoral co-laborers in the ministry, and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends