September 27, 2020
In order to bring clarity and perspective to the situation concerning Pastor Richard Salazar and the events of
Sunday, September 20, 2020 we, the Leadership Board of New Harvest Christian Fellowship, are issuing the
Through a series of events, it came to light that Richard Salazar had purchased vodka at a liquor store in
Bellflower, California on or around July 16 2020. A video was taken of him leaving the store with a bag that
looked like one used for alcohol purchases. At first, he denied purchasing vodka claiming that he had
purchased Clamato juice. He gave this answer to the men that saw him at the liquor store, a brother from the
Norwalk church, Pastor Danny Casas Jr., and Pastor Tom Watson. Eventually, 2 months after the initial
accusation, he admitted purchasing the vodka claiming a doctor had prescribed this for his mother who was
dying at the time.
Also during this period, the video has circulated to many, mostly young adults, church members of the
Norwalk church. Many of those people were wondering why it wasn’t being addressed by Pastor Richard or
WHAT ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN AND WHY
Pastor Richard has publicly stated on multiple occasions that he’s accountable to the Leadership Board of New
Harvest. Because of this, we have always considered ourselves to be the men he is accountable to.
Upon hearing the initial allegations, we took time to pray and ponder as confronting a pastor of Pastor
Richard’s calibre is an extremely serious matter. After undeniable proof of the vodka purchase and lying came
to us from a variety of sources, we were convinced that it was vital that we address the matter as quickly as
possible. The following Bible verses were our basis for proceeding with an initial meeting.
1 Timothy 3:2 Titus 1:6-9 Christian leaders should be above reproach
Proverbs 12:22 Colossians 3:9 Lying is unacceptable as a Christian
We agree with Pastor Richard’s message on “The Truth About Lying” which he preached last year at our New
Harvest Northern California Conference in Stockton, California which can be found at:
The purchasing of the alcohol and the lying are extremely serious matters especially due to our Biblical stance
on alcohol. We do understand the great pressure and anguish that Pastor Richard was under as his mother lay
dying. We extended our comfort and prayers to him and his family during this difficult and emotionally
draining time. But the idea this is a private matter and his business alone is untrue. His actions affect the New
Harvest Norwalk church and would eventually spread into the other fellowship churches. At the very least, he
needed to be forthcoming with his trusted men who he claimed to be accountable to.
Unbeknownst to us as we were preparing to meet with Pastor Richard, a Zoom meeting with the Leadership
Board was scheduled by Pastor Danny Casas Jr. with permission from Pastor Richard for Saturday September
19 2020 after the Men’s Discipleship to discuss this matter. Four members of the Leadership Board were sent
to meet with Pastor Richard in person, as we have done with other pastors in the past. The meeting was a
difficult one for everyone concerned and ended with none of the issues being resolved. The Leadership agreed
amongst themselves to rest, pray, and meet again in the week ahead to discuss how to proceed.
While the decision to discipline Pastor Richard or not would be based primarily on his actions of purchasing
alcohol and lying about it, what happened on Sunday following cannot be ignored.
On Sunday September 20 2020 the matter of the alcohol purchase was openly discussed from the pulpit in
both Norwalk church services with Pastor Richard giving his reason for purchasing the alcohol but omitting key
details (such as lying to pastors and church members and his unwillingness to reconcile his actions with Biblical
truth to the Leadership board). None of the Leadership were aware of his intentions to publicly disclose
information in this matter.
Pastor Danny Casas Jr. and Pastor Ruben Sandoval Jr. were also dismissed from ministry after the service in a
manner, in our view, that was not consistent with common decency.
We acknowledge that in these services there were people who agree with the stance of the leadership board
and their outbursts and actions were also unacceptable. When emotions are running as high as they are
people often have difficulty exhibiting self-control but we do not condone their actions.
That afternoon Pastor Richard invited Southern California pastors and wives to a meeting held at New Harvest
Norwalk and gave his side of the story with no input from leadership and inflammatory language such as
“coup” and “ambush” were used to describe our actions. We reject those terms in the strongest possible
sense. It was also said or implied that we were looking to seize control of the fellowship and the assets of the
fellowship, we also wholeheartedly reject this idea. Our motives for doing this was to bring Pastor Richard into
account on this matter, nothing more, nothing less.
THE DISCIPLINE WE HAVE RECOMMENDED
After taking proper time to pray and ponder the Leadership Board of New Harvest has recommended the
following discipline for Pastor Richard Salazar:
To suspend all of his leadership duties, responsibilities and privileges and in addition one year without
preaching in Norwalk and anywhere else with revaluation at the end of one year.
We considered various degrees of discipline including Pastor Richard’s resignation, but we concluded that in
the interest of reconciliation the lesser discipline put forth was more appropriate.
Our prayer is for Pastor Salazar to repent, accept this discipline and do the right thing by honoring God and His
In conclusion, it is important to remember that we are trusted advisors to the fellowship. We can only make
recommendations to the Corporate Board. None of us signing this statement are on the corporate board. In
other words, we have no legal authority to impose anything further.
Art Valenzuela, Stockton CA Robert Romero, Modesto CA Ignacio Torres, Salinas CA
Edwin Melendez, Chicago IL Phil Aguilar, San Diego CA Tom Watson, Manchester UK