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CITY ARTS

An Act of God

July 18, 1993|SANDRA HERNANDEZ

The Rev. Cheviene Jones knows "it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that swing" in music and at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Jones, 55, says he plans to blend his passion for the music of Duke Ellington with the Scripture as he sets out to capture the attention of his congregation and South-Central. The featured vocalist today at the church, he will sing traditional spirituals such as "Deep River" as well as contemporary gospel songs.

Jones' love for music began when he was growing up in Georgia, the son of a minister. Inspired by local and church musicians, Jones worked as a professional singer for five years, including a stint singing backup for James Brown.

He became a minister in 1974, and came to Bethel AME last summer from Kansas City, Kan., where he headed the Trinity AME Church. He plans to learn Spanish so that he can deliver bilingual sermons. "I see my role as empowering my people to go out and do their work," he said. "Because life doesn't sit and wait for you. You have to attack life before it attacks you."

And if that message doesn't get residents' attention, Jones hopes his special blend of music and religion will do the job.

"We do nothing flat here," Jones said.

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"Explosion '93," featuring the Rev. Cheviene Jones; 4 p.m.; Bethel AME Church. 7900 S. Western Ave.; $10 donation. Information: (213) 750-3240.

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