Entries - Entry Category: Religion - Starting with N

Nahziryah Monastic Community

aka: Purple People
Nahziryah Monastic Community is a remote esoteric spiritual center located in rural Marion County in the Ozark Mountains. The African-American commune was built by the Reverend Nazirmoreh K. B. Kedem in the mid-1990s on a 100-acre parcel of land as a survivalist compound in preparation for Y2K. By the early 2000s, Kedem had begun to advertise the place as a spiritual retreat center. His initiates had to take strict vows of silence and abstinence under the “Nazir Order of the Purple Veil.” Initiates were required to wear purple clothing, so they were referred to by outsiders as “The Purple People.” Followers agreed to relinquish all possessions, past relations, and birth names. They were prohibited from speaking, except when spoken to …

New Home Church and School

New Home Church sits on Peach Orchard Road just south of Bella Vista (Benton County), on 1.7 acres now within the city limits of Bentonville (Benton County). A school was also once located on the property. Benton County real estate records list the church property being transferred on November 21, 1896, from someone named Peterson to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and the church was built shortly thereafter. At some point, the church came to be called the New Home United Methodist Church. As described in the application for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, which was granted on January 28, 1988, the modest frame church building is a gabled rectangle, three window bays in length, entered by a …

Norful, Smokie

aka: Willie Ray Norful Jr.
Smokie Norful—a popular pastor in Chicago, Illinois, and a Grammy Award–winning gospel singer—spent most of his developing years in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and is one of the most commercially successful gospel recording artists to have emerged from Arkansas. Born Willie Ray Norful Jr. in Little Rock (Pulaski County) on October 31, 1975, to the Reverend W. R. Norful and Teresa Norful, Norful is the oldest of three boys. Like so many other African-American gospel singers, he found church to be a nurturing environment in which his musical skills could be honed. At a 2012 taping of the Trinity Broadcast Network’s flagship program, Praise the Lord, Norful joked before a studio audience about growing up as a “P. K.” (preacher’s kid) …