Faith Matters: Finding comfort in times of grief

Grief is Velma Matthews’ calling. “It’s been my calling all along. I just didn’t know it,” said Matthews, a certified life coach and the minister of congregational care at Star Hill Church in Baton Rouge. Matthews, 56, said she has always been concerned about people in pain during her 21 years of ministry. But it wasn’t … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Fascination with Shroud of Turin lifelong

Russ Breault

The mystery of the Shroud of Turin has fascinated Russ Breault for more than 35 years. During that time, Breault has become somewhat of an expert on the shroud, the centuries-old linen cloth that many believe bears the image of Jesus Christ. Breault has appeared or been involved in documentaries on “Good Morning America,” The History Channel … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Easter sermon has to be powerful

Rev. David Chisham

The Easter sermon presents a joyful challenge for the Rev. David Chisham. “There’s always a sense that if you’re going to pull out a really good sermon, that has to be the one,” said Chisham, pastor of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Baton Rouge. “You’re going to see some extra faces there, folks who … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Trusting God on journey called life

Doris J. Williams of Baton Rouge

Life has been a special journey for Doris J. Williams. And the 89-year-old two-time cancer survivor said God has blessed her as she continues to live life to the fullest. Williams, a former teacher, is an avid bowler, active Sunday school member, motivational speaker, reading volunteer in public schools and author of the recently released book “On … 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 →

Faith Matters: Fisher ministers despite life’s trials

Whether ministering to people through music or speech, Marcy Fisher starts with what God has poured into her. “The most important thing to me is, whether I’m ministering in word or in a song, I always allow it to minister to me first,” said Fisher, a Baton Rouge gospel artist, choir director and minister. “As it ministers … 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 →

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 →

Faith Matters: Empowering women through faith

Photo provided by JANE WALKERThe Rev. Jesse Bilberry, of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, speaks during the

The women of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge are celebrating with a purpose during their annual women’s day. And this year, they have invited a national speaker whose main purpose in life is helping empower women for what God has for them. The Women’s Day service is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 19 … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Pastors travel from same starting point

Rev. S.C. Dixon

Two pastors with a shared past have been entrusted with helping to lead a prominent Baptist organization into the future. The Rev. S.C. Dixon, pastor of the Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, will be installed as general secretary of the 3.5 million member National Baptist Convention of America International Inc. during a special … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Biblical boost for marriages

Russ Taff

The Bible remains the best source for helping a troubled marriage, said Zachary minister and author Gwendolyn Perry Honore. It’s the wisest advice Honore said she can offer women with marital questions. “I use the Bible. I always go back to the Bible to help them out,” Honore said. “Women are really anxious to give me … Continue reading →

Faith Matters for Aug. 9, 2014

Photo provided by FREDERICK JONESThe Jones siblings include, from left, Anna, Lucy, Sylvester, Tammi, Louise, Elmer, Marie, Joyce, Georgia, Geneva, Emma, Mary, Leroy and Carl.

Prayer — and a weekly teleconference — has kept the Jones family connected. The 14 siblings (nine women and five men) and a host of other family members from five to seven states gather at 7 a.m. each Saturday for the prayer line and “minichurch” service. “It brings us closer. It bonds us,” said sister Anna … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Club seeks literature that inspires faith

The Seekers Book Club seeks more than just a book to read. The organization deals with books that inspire and often lead to discussions of faith and seeking a better relationship with God. “God is the center of what happens here,” club member Regina Roberston said. “The books are all inspirational books that are selected and … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Glorifying God despite debilitating disease

Clydette Rispone.

The familiar voice that for so many years allowed Clydette Rispone to pray and speak blessings and encouragement over her family, students and others has been silenced. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, also has robbed the 54-year-old Greenwell Springs woman of her ability to walk or eat. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: After salvation, pastor gives life to God

Psalmist Alicia Hardy at “Pumps and Praise” event at The Center of Attraction.

Once he gave his life to Christ nearly 40 years ago, the Rev. Frederick Jackson started taking life — and church — seriously. “I just got saved, and I didn’t want to play church like a lot of people do,” said Jackson, senior pastor of the Ministry of Reconciliation Fellowship in Baton Rouge. “Most people just go … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Business owner found motivation in faith

Family has always been a motivating factor in Larry Lundy’s life. It was the example of his God-fearing parents that motivated Lundy to go into business; he eventually became one of the wealthiest black restaurant owners in the country. And it was his family and his faith that gave Lundy the motivation he needed in the … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Iron sharpens iron

Mark Lubbock

Most men desire a life of value, of purpose and worthy of pride, but they just don’t know how to get there, says a leader of an interdenominational group that helps disciple men for service in the church and their community. Mark Lubbock, CEO of the Gulf South Men, says much of the blame lies with the … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: BR’s Treme teaches Hebrew in area classes

A burning desire to teach and preach God’s word has taken Buz Treme from Baton Rouge to adventures around the world as a missionary and church planter. “I teach and preach Bible all the time,” says the 65-year-old Treme. “That’s what I’m about.” Since returning to Baton Rouge 11 years ago, Treme is expanding his teaching … Continue reading →

Faith Matters for Feb. 8, 2014

J Keith McAllister

Some heartache in his own life has only served to give Keith McAllister a greater heart of compassion for others. “When I meet people, I’m very careful,” said McAllister, the pastor of White Dove Church in Baton Rouge. “You never know what kind of difficulty or what kind of pain they’re experiencing. They may not even open … Continue reading →

Faith Matters for Dec. 28, 2013

10/4/03 Photo shot by Barbara Schlichtman.  Rev. T.J. Jemison.       Keyword Religion

New leaders at three prominent churches and the death of a civil rights icon and longtime religious leader were among the top stories in the Baton Rouge-area faith community in 2013.On Nov. 15, the Rev. T.J. Jemison died at the age of 95. He served as pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church for nearly 55 years before retiring in … Continue reading →

Faith Matters for Dec. 14, 2013

The holiday season isn’t a joyous time for everyone. In the midst of our celebration of the birth of Christ and all the other activities that surround the season, it’s important to acknowledge there are those who are experiencing loss and struggles, said the Rev. Brady Whitton, senior pastor of First United … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Defeating fear theme of minister’s new book

Photo provided by SKIP BLYTHESkip Blythe, of Greenwell Springs, is the author of 'Fear Not!

While driving over the high-rising Interstate 10 bridge at Whiskey Bay with his family years ago, Skip Blythe was struck with fear. “I know it doesn’t make sense, and I can’t explain it, but my whole body suddenly tensed, and all my muscles tightened,” the Greenwell Springs minister shares in his new book “Fear Not!” (Oak of … Continue reading →

Faith Matters for Nov. 16, 2013

Photo provided by NIGAM PATEL A young contestant wins a prize for best costume at the event during awards ceremony at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.She is joinedby Nigam Patel, HSBR President with daughter, Amaya Patel who sponsored the gift cards, and Pravin Patel, HSBR vice president.

The “traditional” way of having church no longer appealed to Michael Cox. After years of planting churches as a denominational minister, Cox has become a proponent of the organic church in which a small group of believers in Jesus gathers at each others’ homes. “It doesn’t follow a form and a pattern as we see in … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Mz. Yvette tells girls they can overcome

Even when she found herself pregnant as a teen, Yvette Brunswick of Baker found all the help she needed in a faithful mother and a faithful God.That experience is one of the main reasons behind Brunswick’s ministry, workshops and her two books focusing on girls ages 8-16. “That group has really captivated my heart,” said Brunswick, better … Continue reading →