Pastor Sydney Keys to take helm at North Richmond church

Pastor Sydney Keys is getting a fresh start.

The well-liked local religious leader will be welcomed at 3 p.m. Saturday as the new Senior Pastor at Greater New Bethel Apostolic Ministry on 101 Market Street in North Richmond.

“I am going to go forth with the vision,” Keys said Thursday.

The ceremony will be attended by Congressman George Miller (D-Martinez) and other political and neighborhood leaders, Keys said.

Keys made big news in 2011 when his Bible Way Community Church in Richmond joined was evicted at the behest of bank ownership after falling behind on payments.

Keys was supported in nonviolent protests of the eviction by Councilmember Corky Booze, Richmond Chief of Police Chris Magnus, County Supervisor John Gioia and representatives of Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner.

Keys was arrested by Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department deputies— along with his wife, mother and two activists — after a two day sit-in protesting the eviction. They were released the next day.