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Baton Rouge First Baptist deacon attracts youth with exotic sports cars like Lamborghinis

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- A Lamborghini Murcielago was one of the cars youngsters got to see up close at the February Lamborghini Youth Training Academy.

As deacon chairman at First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, Kimuel Lee was looking for a way to attract young people to church. He found it in his garage. Of course, it’s no ordinary garage. Lee, a car enthusiast, has acquired all manner… 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 →

Baton Rouge religious bulletins for Feb. 28 - March 13


RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS WOMEN’S GROUP: 6 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1. A support group for women seeking mental freedom from destructive habits. (225) 776-1652 or RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS MEN’S GROUP: 7 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1 S. A… 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 →

Preschool ‘Superheroes’ craft gifts to thank others for their service

Advocate staff photo by Kyle Peveto -- Firefighter Clint Kimbel shows 3-year-old Thomas McElgin how the fire hose works during a Superheroes of Service event.

Donning their tiny green capes, the preschool-aged Superheroes of University Baptist Church had a long day ahead of them. Their mission: to thank a group of firefighters who risk life and limb to protect the lives and property of Baton Rouge. The Superheroes of Service program at University Baptist promotes the Christian value of service… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Speaker inspires closer life with God

The Lenten season offers Christians an opportunity to grow closer to God through prayer, fasting and other means. To help in that effort, some churches offer Lenten missions, programs to inspire parishioners during the solemn time of year. One such church that has enjoyed successful missions in the past with distinguished speakers is St. Thomas More… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge religious bulletins for Feb. 22 - March 5

The Rev. Van Smith Jr. and his wife Leola R. Smith (PP)

RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS WOMEN’S GROUP: 6 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 LA 1. A support group for women seeking mental freedom from destructive habits. (225) 776-1652 or RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS MEN’S GROUP: 7 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 LA 1 South. A support… 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 →

Facets of Faith: New app called Instapray will help you find someone to pray with

Instapray users from around the world pray for the posted requests.

Feeling out of sorts and want someone to pray with you, but no one is available? A free app available for iOS and Android devices hopes to help with that. On its Internet home page, Instapray bills itself as “Your safe place to give and get support.”… 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 →

Baton Rouge-area religious bulletins for Feb. 21-27

Gloria D. Miller and Roy Miller

RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS WOMEN’S GROUP: 6 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1. S. Support group for women seeking freedom from destructive habits. (225) 776-1652 or RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS MEN’S GROUP: 7 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1 S. Support group for… Continue reading →

‘‘If God can come down in human form, I can change from being a lawyer.’’

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- The Rev. Sharon A. Alexander is the first woman rector of Trinity Episcopal Church. The former lawyer wants to expand the church's reach from LSU to a Bolivian orphanage. She has an extensive collection of crufixes and icons from around the world in in her office.

When Sharon A. Alexander was growing up in Edinburg, Texas, she played golf or tennis on Sundays. She never imagined she’d someday be an Episcopal priest. An eighth generation Texan and the oldest daughter of a lawyer who didn’t attend church, Alexander wanted to be an astronaut. She never flew into space but did log more than… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Feb. 7, 2015

Circuit Judge John Michael Guidry

RECOVERY SUPPORT MEN’S GROUP: 7 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1 S. Fellowship meeting for men who suffer with anger, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, overeating, overspending or any other issue. (225) 218-5630 or USHERS MINISTRY: 2 p.m.,… Continue reading →

Watoto Choir sets shows for awareness

The Watoto Children’s Choir, of Africa, is bringing its“Oh What Love” show to the area. All performances are free . The choir acts as Watoto ambassadors to raise awareness about the plight of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Africa. To preview a performance , visit Scheduled area performances are: --7 p.m. Wednesday,… Continue reading →

First Methodist pitching in to improve homes of needy with ‘Revive 225’

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Christine Wesley, left, watches volunteers from First United Methodist Church rake leaves and clean out her Sycamore Street home before renovations begin as part of the church's Revive 225 mission project.

Christine Wesley leaned against a neighbor’s house, a cane in one hand, her phone in the other and a smile on her face. Wearing a warm, black jacket and hat to ward off the early Saturday morning chill, she watched a swarm of First United Methodist Church members pull broken furniture out the… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Finding the word of God

Advocate staff photo by LEILA PITCHFORD-ENGLISH -- The Rev. Stephan Tchividjian explains to the Faith Travel Association how faith-based travel can change a person. He says he and his wife sent their 'wild child' to Africa for four months and she came back to become a champion for the people there.

An unwanted trip to the Dominican Republic changed life for Stephan Tchividjian, pastor, business leader and grandson of the Rev. Billy Graham. Tchividjian spoke about “The Power of Faith-based Travel” and led a panel discussion on growing ministry through faith-based travel during the sessions hosted by the Faith Travel Association in New Orleans recently. He explained… Continue reading →

Choral group Heritage sets Festival of Negro Spirituals

Photo provided by Heritage -- Heritage, a non-profit professional choral ensemble, is holding its 24th annul Festival of Negro Spiritual on Feb. 7 at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church.

Heritage, whose mission is to perpetuate the “Negro spiritual” as a distinctive art form, will host its 24th annual Festival of Negro Spirituals on Feb. 7. The event, which will begin at 3 p.m., will be held at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 185 Eddie Robinson Sr. Drive. Admission is free. “Heritage has been sharing… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Jan. 31, 2015

Photo provided by Stevedale Baptist Church -- The Mark Trammell Quartet will be in concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 5, at Stevendale Baptist Church, 16545 Old Hammond Highway, Baton Rouge. A love offering will be taken.

YOUTH BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT: 9 a.m., H.B. Williams Tower of Strength Center, 690 Kelly St. For youth ages 5 to 19. $5. (225) 937-3419. CLIFF & COMPANY LISTENING EXPERIENCE: 7 p.m., Quarters Endless Entertainment, 4530 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. A party for the release of the local gospel group’s CD, “Searching… Continue reading →

Watoto Children’s Choir to perform in BR area

Photo provided by Watoto Children's Choir -- The Watoto Children's Choir from Africa is bringing its dynamic show to the area. Performances are free and open to the public.

The Watoto Children’s Choir, which has traveled here from Africa, will be giving several performances of “Oh What Love” in the area. Through this dynamic worship experience, the members of the Watoto Children’s Choir, who were once orphans, share their journeys to redemption. All performances are free and open to the public. The choir… Continue reading →

Jefferson Baptist to hold Women’s Retreat

Best-selling author Lisa Harper will be the featured speaker at the Jefferson Baptist Women’s Retreat on Feb. 6-7. The “Perfectly Imperfect” event, which runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 7, will be held at the church, 9135 Jefferson Highway. Tickets are… Continue reading →

Wings hopes Bibles first step of ministry

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Wings of the Spirit mission group members load Gospels of John into their plane at the Baton Rouge Metro Airport. Board President Ryan Williams, left, hands booklets to pilot Gerald Huggins, center, and videographer Daniel Waghorne. Huggins and Waghorne will fly the Super Cub into Central America in February to distribute the Spanish-version Gospel of John to remote villages.

Whenever Gerald Huggins sees video or photographs of poor, barefoot children, especially in Central America, he gets emotional. “I identify with them because I was one of those kids,” Huggins said. “It touches my heart.” A seasoned pilot and president of GH Enterprises, an aircraft maintenance company at the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport, Huggins, 64, was… Continue reading →

Meet Joshua Johnson, Baton Rouge's rapping, youngest Catholic priest who 'never liked' church as a kid

A young Catholic priest who enjoys rap music had a few confessions about his faith and his music: He didn’t like the Catholic Church as a youth, and he doesn’t want to simply be known today as the “Rapping Priest.” At 27, the Rev. Joshua Johnson, of Christ the King Catholic Church at LSU, is the youngest… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Jan. 24, 2015

A MATTER OF LIFE AND LOVE: University Presbyterian Church, LSU campus. A regional conference of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. The Rev. Road Cynthia Rigby, W.C. Brown theology professor, Austin Theological Presbyterian Seminary will be the keynote speaker. The Rev. Road Kenneth E. Kovacs, pastor of Catonsville Presbyterian Church in… Continue reading →

LSU class to explore impacts of ‘Religion, Food and Culture’ on society

Advocate file photo -- An LSU class will explore the importance of food in religious and cultural traditions, such as the Passover Seder meal.

Lent, Passover, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Kwanzaa, Ramadan and a host of other religious observances in the East and West all revolve in some way or another around food and culture. The confluence and the impact of those practices is why LSU Religious Studies Professor Gail Hinich Sutherland is presenting “Religion, Food and… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Jan. 17, 2015

JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL: 7:30 p.m., The Manship Theatre, 100 Lafayette St. A genial slacker, a private investigator and a femme fatale join forces to rescue a kidnapped holy man in “The Wonders.” ANNIVERSARY: 8 a.m., St. Joseph Baptist Church, 2510 Tennessee St.… Continue reading →

River Community Church to present ‘Birds’ exhibit

Photo provided by AMY CRANE -- 'The Birds of Uganda' by Krista Roche

The River Community Church in Prairieville will exhibit paintings from the “Birds of a Feather” Show held recently at VanGuard Gallery in Stephen Wilson Stained Glass studio in Baton Rouge. The exhibit will be open at the church, 36367 Old Perkins Road, Jan. 18 through Feb. 5. Hours are 9 a.m. to noon Sundays and… Continue reading →

‘Pray for Soul of La.’ set Jan. 24 at Southern

Photo provided by VELTA J. CROSS -- Makeover day -- When Vera Major and Velta Cross, eucharistic ministers from St. Isidore Church who serve at Northridge Care Center in Baker, got a request from one of the residents for a little help with their hair, they sprang into action. Before it was all over, the center's residents (including the men) had shared lots of laughter and good grooming. Expert help on how to style wigs was provided by Ray Cosmetology School students, from left, Jovonda Hughey, Tayla Hickman, Ella Dean and Tamara Collins under the direction of Melvena Ray. The women residents also had their makeup done. The activity was coordinated with the center's CEO, Brock Naquin, and activity director Tunisia Wallace. Civic Pride of Baker, Baker-Zachary Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Doris Alexander provided make up and wig supplies for the Dec. 2 activity.

A rally to “Pray for the Soul of Louisiana” will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, in the F.G. Clark Center on the Southern University campus. According to a news release, the prayer rally will include leaders of faith-based and justice organizations, as well as concerned citizens, and is free and open… Continue reading →

St. Matthew Orthodox celebrates Christ's birth in December and January

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- The children of St. Matthew the Apostle Orthodox Church perform their annual Nativity Pageant, called a 'yolka,' on Jan.  4. Performing several Christmas songs in the pageant are, from left, Valentina Abbot playing her violin, Rachel Labue, Natalie Pituch, Anna Christian holding Alexei Abbot, Alexander Pituch, Delia Cajaveanu, Christopher Lobue.

Many churches held Christmas services the Sunday before Dec. 25. St. Matthew the Apostle Orthodox Church celebrated Christ’s birth that same Sunday — and again this week. “We tell the same story, but it unfolds at a little different rate and a different calendar,” the Rev. Mark Christian said prior to the… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Abuse survivor moves from past to pastor

the Rev. A. Austin

Years of sexual and physical abuse didn’t conquer Angel Austin. She found the faith to overcome that painful episode of her life and also found deliverance in Christ. “Knowing Christ enabled me to accept what I could not change and what people had done to me. But he showed me what they did to me was… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Jan. 10, 2015

Rev. Terry K. Anderson

AUTHOR APPEARANCE: 7:30 p.m., Bethany World Prayer Center, 13885 Plank Road. Sandi Krakowski, author of “#BEMORE: 77 Secrets to Your Powerful Life,” will talk about the message and inspiration behind her book. Free. VIP admission is at 6 p.m. Cost is $97 and includes question-and-answer session with the author, front-row seating… Continue reading →

BR church to webcast live economic equality forum

From Jan. 22-25, St. James Episcopal Church’s Center for Spiritual Formation will host the broadcast of a diverse group of scholars, faith leaders and economists offering strategies for developing a more just economy. The sessions at the Baton Rouge center, 205 N. Fourth St., will include Dr. Cornel West, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, Barbara Ehrenreich… Continue reading →

Party provides chance to overcome hurts

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Party attendees dance and sing along as Jolisa Singletary sings Christmas carols Dec. 27 during the Women Bringing Women after-Christmas Party at City Café in Baton Rouge. The party features speakers, singers, dancers and give-aways. This year's party theme was 'I Will.'

Every Christmas season, Leola O’Bear Smith remembers the pain she felt after her divorce nearly 20 years ago. “I hurt so bad after the divorce,” she said. “I never thought people could hurt so bad.” So each year on the Saturday after Christmas, Smith throws a party for all women… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Convention encourages combining faith, travel

Photo providede by the FTA -- Stephan Tchividjian, grandson of the Rev. Billy Graham, will speak at the Faith Travel Association meeting in New Orleans on Jan. 19.

Readers of this column know that my husband and I incorporate faith-based stops in our travels and that we encourage others to do so. The Faith Travel Association, a group dedicated to that theme, will meet in New Orleans on Jan. 19. The FTA estimates that 300 million people make… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Jan. 3, 2015

LORD’S SUPPER: 11 a.m., Star of Bethlehem Baptist Church, 1204 St. Joseph St. The Rev. Henry J. Brown, pastor. PARENTS’ MORNING OF REFLECTION: 8:30 a.m., St. Joseph’s Academy Chapel, 3080 Kleinert Ave. The theme is “What is my Song?” Open to all interested adults,… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: 2014 had its share of big news in the Baton Rouge-area faith community

Associated Press file photo -- Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit Sept 26 in Washington, D.C.

Although devoid of any major pastoral changes, organizational shakeups, controversies or deaths for most of the year, 2014 did have its share of notable news in the Baton Rouge-area faith community. Churches and many religious organizations continued to make their presence felt in the community through feeding the homeless, fixing up homes, cleaning cemeteries, operating food pantries and other… Continue reading →

Dads and their children build mangers for Christmas lesson

Advocate photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Sawyer Earnest, 7, pounds in the nails to hold the legs on a manger she and her father Todd built during a Manger Build family-bonding activity at Parkview Baptist Church.

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the babe… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Christmas music

For many people, the Christmas season is about music. This is true in my household. Our eclectic Christmas albums range from Handel’s “Messiah” to Dr. Demento. There are a few albums I return to when I want a dose of the Bible Christmas story with my music. Here are some… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for Dec. 20, 2014


CLOTHING GIVEAWAY: 10 a.m., Greater Beulah Baptist Church, 955 E. Polk St. Free clothing in various sizes. FESTIVAL OF LESSONS & CAROLS: 5 p.m., St. James Episcopal Church, 205 N. Fourth St. Music by the St. James Treble Choir, a… Continue reading →

Christmas kettle bells work hard to meet needs

Advocate photo by Mark H. Hunter -- This sign explains how donations to the Salvation Army help the needy.

The Christmas season is probably the most challenging time of the year for many families trying to pay the bills and feed the children and still put some gifts under the tree. That’s why the Salvation Army rings bells and collects donations in red kettles all across America to help. Capt. Brett R.… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Walking with God through challenges

Stephanie and Phillip Robinson

Stephanie Robinson never expected her husband to die before her. Born with a hole in her heart 62 years ago, she wasn’t expected to live past age 36 and even today requires an oxygen supplement 24 hours a day to breathe. Her husband, Phillip, was a bodybuilder and plant worker who took yearly physicals and had no… Continue reading →