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It’s out. They’re in. Presbyterian Church (USA) approves same-sex marriage

Ellie Genuardi poses with a sample of her company's ethnic partners wedding cake toppers at the Renellie warehouse in Costa Mesa, Calif.  on Friday, June 6, 2008. The distributor who makes wedding-cake figures that can be customized to come in bride-bride and groom-groom pairs, said they have gone from selling 50 a day to 150 since the May 15 ruling allowing gay marriage. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

After decades of debate, the Presbyterian Church (USA) has endorsed same-sex marriage and is allowing its clergy to perform the ceremonies. At last count, 93 of the 171 presbyteries — groups of local churches similar to a Catholic diocese or Methodist conference — voted to approve an amendment to change the definition of marriage from “a… Continue reading →

Many religious leaders express their opposition to same-sex marriage

It didn’t take long after the Presbyterian Church (USA) announced its approval of gay marriage that other Presbyterians and Christian leaders declared their opposition to it. “Due to the most recent pronouncement of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to redefine marriage, we in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church reaffirm our position on Christian marriage,” read a statement from the… Continue reading →

Knights of Peter Claver conference set April 24-26

Norman Francis

The 71st Louisiana State Conference of the Knights of Peter Claver and Ladies Auxiliary will be held April 24-26 at the Baton Rouge River Center. Among the conference highlights are the group’s awards banquet, where Xavier University President Norman Francis will speak, and its Domestic Violence Awareness Breakfast, where Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette J.… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Rev. Tom Ranzino finds more ways to serve in Baton Rouge diocese

The Rev. Tom Ranzino, pastor of St. Jean Vianney and Director of the Office of Worship of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

When approached about expanding his service in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, the Rev. Tom Ranzino was more than willing. Faithful serving with compassion has been among Ranzino’s gifts during his 35 years in the diocese. And it’s been Ranzino’s way of giving back to a faithful God. “I really trust in God’s faithfulness to me… Continue reading →

Artists, photographers invited to submit works to church for gallery exhibit

Artists and photographers are invited to submit works for the next River Community Church art and photography exhibit, “Favorite Faces.” Preference is for submissions to be framed or on gallery-wrapped canvas, with a wire on the back for hanging. Children and adults can submit photos and art between April 26-29 at the church, 36367 Old Perkins Road,… Continue reading →

Exploring Judas’ last days through theater

Photo provided by the Lauren-Reilly Eliot Company -- Cortland Melton (left) takes on the role of Jesus and rebukes Judas, played by Andre Trahan, right, in 'The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.'

While “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” may be a too-hot cup of tea for the theologically fragile, it’s a delicious post-Easter dessert for everyone else. First staged off-Broadway in 2005 and directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stephen Adley Giurgis’ dark comedy-drama employs flashbacks to an imaginary childhood, plus lawyers who call for the testimonies from… Continue reading →

First permanent sanctuary for St. Margaret's Church to open Sunday

PRAY photo by mark h hunter, Scott Arbour, a carpenter with Blair Construction, measures the "rerdos," the area inside the arch, at the front of the new sanctuary of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church. The rerdos will be covered with a gold silk fabric as a background for the altar area.

Ever since St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church was founded in the early 1970s, the congregation has been meeting in one parish hall or another — until now. On Sunday afternoon at 3, church members will celebrate the consecration of a 3,000-square-foot sanctuary specifically designed and built to glorify God and inspire all who enter… Continue reading →

Palm Sunday ‘Go Day’ sends church members out to help others: ‘Jesus loves people ... and we want to be like Him’

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Micah Cating, right, student minister at Istrouma Baptist Church, tags running back Sintrall Franklin, 8, back to camera, during a touch football game on Palm Sunday morning at Ardenwood Terrace apartments during the church's  'Go Day' outreach. Games, food and a brief Bible lesson was held at the apartments in north Baton Rouge by church volunteers.

While congregations gathered in churches across Baton Rouge to observe Palm Sunday, marking Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, Istrouma Baptist Church quickly became empty. Members attended a short worship service, then quickly dispersed across the metro area for the church’s fourth annual “Go Day.” “We do ‘Go Day’ because Jesus… Continue reading →

Conference unifies men from variety of Christian faith groups

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- T.C. Stallings talks about 'Playing on God's Team' to men attending the Iron Sharpens Iron conference at Istrouma Baptist Church.

Unity — across cultures and religious faiths — was the unofficial theme of the 2015 Iron Sharpens Iron conference that brought about 150 men together at Istrouma Baptist Church. The conference, sponsored by Gulf South Men on March 21, was designed to bring together men from a variety of Christian faith groups to help them become more… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge churches help address hunger in the community

Photo provided by Church of the Way Presbyterian Church -- Orchard tender George Reeves, left, and orchard master Kane Mire work in the Church of the Way Memorial Community Orchard that was planted March 21 on South Foster Drive. The orchard is a cooperative project to help feed the hungry.

Two Baton Rouge churches are putting their green thumbs to work to help feed the hungry here. The Church of the Way Memorial Community Orchard, which will allow those in need to pick fruit, was planted Saturday, March 21, on land adjacent to the church on South Foster Drive. Some 20 citrus trees —… Continue reading →

Book, play compares death penalty to the crucifixion of Jesus

Photo provided by Baton Rouge Community College -- Aaron Fontanilla takes on the role of convicted murderer Matthew Poncelet in Baton Rouge Community College's production of 'Dead Man Walking,' which focuses on the relationship between Sister Helen Prejean and the death-row inmate.

Sister Helen Prejean compares the death penalty to the crucifixion of Jesus and uses the cross to illustrate her argument against it. “This is a really conflictual, really hard, moral issue — and you have to start with the crime,” Prejean said. “Somebody in cold blood has taken the life of… Continue reading →

National Single Moms Conference set for Baton Rouge

Chief Executive Officer Jennifer Maggio and The Life of a Single Mom Ministries will present the 2015 National TLSM Single Moms Conference on June 19-20 in Baton Rouge. This national event is open to single moms and supporters of single moms from around the country who desire to be empowered, educated and encouraged. Since its… Continue reading →

Church marks pastor’s anniversary


St. Alma Baptist Church in Lakeland will mark the seventh anniversary of Pastor Mary W. Moss with celebration services on Friday and Sunday, March 20 and 22. At 7 p.m. Friday, Pastor Troy Johnson, of Fresh Start Community Church in Houston, will preach at Belfair Baptist Church, 4444 Fairfield Ave., Baton Rouge. On Sunday at 2… Continue reading →

OLOL joins church for mental health symposium

A mental health symposium designed to heighten awareness within the faith community and beyond about mental illness among specific local at-risk groups and to develop strategies to better support those struggling with mental health will be held Friday and Saturday, March 20-21. The event is being sponsored by Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and… Continue reading →

Baptist Ministry at LSU to present ‘Into the Woods’

The Baptist Collegiate Ministry at LSU is staging Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” as a fundraiser for student missions. The production will be held March 19-24 at the BCM Center, 3800 Highland Road, Baton Rouge. Performances are 7 p.m. Thursday, March 19, and Monday and Tuesday, March 23-24, ($10); 6 p.m. dinner and 7 p.m.… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge businessman’s devotional book inspired by scenery

Photo provided by FRANK PHILLIPS -- Author Frank Phillips shot this photo of Bryce Canyon, which he says illustrates Jesus Christ standing in front of an open theater addressing a large group of people. It is the cover of his new book, 'Living Life.'

Frank and Sandy Phillips were on a vacation out west when a scenic Utah vista became, he said, a geologic description of Jesus Christ. The vast Bryce Canyon amphitheater, crowded with eroded rock formations called “hoodoos,” appears to have a lone, pale-colored figure facing the rest of the red-rock geological formations, Frank Phillips said. The scene stirred… Continue reading →

LSU's Glassel Gallery to feature work by Pope artist Michael Triegel

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- German painter and illustrator Michael Triegel at his exhibit in the Glassell Gallery inside the Shaw Center for the Arts.

The story spread quickly through Europe’s religious and artistic communities: a nonbeliever was painting Pope Benedict XVI’s official portrait. Michael Triegel smiles about it now. He was baptized in the Catholic church last Easter, but it’s true his spiritual doubts ran deep when he agreed to paint the portrait. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to… Continue reading →

Book ministry seeks to ‘free’ inmates

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- John and Andi Bayer, directors of Free at Last Prison Ministries, are distributing a new book, 'Ministry from the Inside,' to as many prisons and jails as they can.Thousands of inmates are becoming Christians, they say, and the book is a 'manual' to help them in spiritual growth.

John and Andi Bayer have such compassion for incarcerated men and women that they have devoted the last several decades of their lives to their small but influential Free At Last Prison Ministries. “We believe God has a special unconditional love for inmates,” John Bayer said. “Great men of God, such as Peter,… Continue reading →

Two Louisiana men sign on to help lead Latter-day Saints

Photo provided by DEANNE BRYANT --  Reed Mackay, of Zachary; Chris Hollis, of Liberty, Mississippi, and Mark Rotolo, of Central, from left, are from the Denham Springs Stake Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The three will lead 10 congregations of more than 3,600 Mormon members from Livingston, Tangipahoa and East Baton Rouge parishes and from Liberty and McComb, MIssissippi.

Two Louisiana men have been called to serve in the newly reorganized stake presidency of the Denham Springs Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Reed Mackay, of Zachary, was called again as first counselor and Mark E. Rotolo, of Central, was called as second counselor. They will serve with Christopher W.… Continue reading →