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Teens & young adults flock to Christian-themed downtown nightclub

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Teens & young adults flock to Christian-themed downtown nightclub

Jon and Jessica Reyes – the founders of Christian nightclub “The Upper Room” – stand in front of the Sycamore Avenue haunt. Twice-a-month the spot attracts teens and young adults looking to advanta...

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED June 16, 2012 2:57 a.m.

Jon Reyes had a vision for a Manteca nightspot.

Of course it had to have the dark atmosphere, the comfortable couches and the pulsing music that are staples of the trendy clubs that people wait behind the velvet ropes for.

But his vision had a twist – and not the kind that typically comes with the late-night lifestyle.

It would be Manteca’s first Christian-themed nightclub-style gathering place where teens and young adults could still have fun but without the drugs and alcohol and the negative consequences that come with them.

For nearly a year, The Upper Room – operated in conjunction with Manteca’s Prayer Valley Church – has welcomed people through the doors twice monthly into a friendly and inviting space that doesn’t sacrifice its coolness for practicality.

Seeing his idea catch on and grow is something that Reyes – who stepped away from the project briefly but has since returned – takes great pride in.

“I like the fact that it provides faith to people who might not otherwise have it in their lives,” he said. “It’s a non-traditional setting but that also provides opportunities to reach people who wouldn’t otherwise be in a church environment.

“We open it up to everybody because it means a lot to us that we’re able to reach out into the community in a different way.”

It was during a drive down Stockton’s Miracle Mile that Reyes’ wife Jessica came up with the idea to possibly pursue a Christian nightclub somewhere in the vicinity and he began searching for a location. When the space above his Sunday morning worship center became available, he pitched the idea to the pastor and immediately found a supporter in a new and unique form of ministry.

And it has been running successfully ever since.

While it draws a strong Christian crowd on the two nights a month that it’s open – local youth groups enjoy visiting and musical acts that come from around the valley will often bring young people as well – it has also attracted people in a way that Reyes had hoped for but not anticipated.

“We have a prayer room in the back where people can come in and be prayed for and we had a girl come in from one of the bars down the street and she prayed with us and talked about how she would like to get closer to God,” Reyes said. “That was a really cool thing to see.”

Even though the site is affiliated with Prayer Valley Church, it is non-denominational and it costs nothing to come in and have a good time.

Maintaining a place in the community where youth can come and enjoy themselves at night, Reyes said, is something that’s needed – allowing the space to serve as a trouble-free zone away from some of the problems that might plague other teen haunts.

And like any good club, seeing more people file through the doors is always a good thing.

“I’d like to see it generate a buzz in the community and have people know about what it is and how it’s different from what they’re used to,” Reyes said. “It’s a positive environment where people can go and not have to worry about trouble or anything like that, and it’s a place where people can go share their faith.”

 The Upper Room is located at 119 Sycamore Avenue, and is open two Fridays a month from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. It will be open next on Friday, June 22. For additional information email theupperroomnightlife@gmail.com.

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