Faith Matters:

DeShannon L. Quiett-Wilmer

Whether as a counselor, radio host, camp organizer, entrepreneur, health care professional or in any of her other varied roles, DeShannon L. Quiett-Wilmer tries to fulfill her calling of inspiring others for God. “I’m a woman that is driven completely by divine purpose,” Quiett-Wilmer said. “My life is dedicated to speaking into people’s lives, to release them … Continue reading →

The street preacher: Tom Brewer eschews pulpit for pavement

Photo by TERRY ROBINSONTom Brewer preaches at the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula.

Stares, disbelief and even heckles are common when Tom Brewer preaches. Brewer, of Denham Springs, is a street preacher, and he doesn’t mind answering his calling by proclaiming the word of God — to anybody, anywhere. “I love it,” said Brewer, a member of Grace Bible Fellowship in Baton Rouge. “God blesses me honestly. It’s really … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Community remembers man of ‘faith’

Mark Hunter

Mark Hunter’s name has appeared on more than 1,000 articles in The Advocate since 2004, mostly on these religion pages. Behind the byline was a dogged, skilled and unbiased reporter. Behind the prolific writer was also a loving husband, friend and man of faith. Hunter died Sunday after suffering a heart attack at Istrouma Baptist … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Bishop returns to where it all began

Bishop Joseph Walker III

Long before becoming a megachurch pastor and presiding bishop of the influential Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, Joseph Walker was just another Southern University student with big plans. And they didn’t include ministry. “I was going to law school until God called me to preach,” said Walker, who recently stopped at Southern during his “Reset” tour … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Group keeps Negro spirituals alive

Photo provided by CLARENCE JONESHeritage choral ensemble is holding its 25th annual Festival of Negro Spirituals at 3 p.m. today at Chistian Life Fellowship.

The Negro spiritual should always have a place in the black church and community, said longtime musician and retired teacher Clarence Jones, who continues to do his part to make sure the genre is not forgotten. “It’s a form of music, and it’s a source of our culture, and I just think it’s worth saving. It’s important … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Longtime pastor Newman left mark on 2 churches

Photo provided by DEXTER NEWMANDexter Newman speaks at retirement celebration for his father, the Rev. David Newman.

Retirement is the Rev. David Newman’s long-awaited, extended break. Newman certainly didn’t take much time off in 47 years as the pastor of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church and 42 years leading Greater St. Luke Baptist Church, both in Baton Rouge. The only time he missed a Sunday service was following surgery about 12 years ago, … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Preacher says calling came in womb

Photo provided by Derrick ShaversDerrick Shavers

The call to the ministry came at an early age for Derrick Shavers. “My preaching call was really in my mother’s womb,” said the dynamic young pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. “Kind of like Jeremiah (the Old Testament prophet), the Lord had already anointed me and ordained me to be a … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Supporting sisters through cancer journey

Sisters Supporting Sisters

A strong faith has been the biggest weapon in the fight against cancer for Linda Daniel and Sherrill Johnson. “I have had breast cancer twice. The medical professionals say I’m a survivor, I’m in remission. As a Christian, I’m healed,” said Daniel, of Alsen. “(God) put doctors and nurses and researchers to help us along this … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Woman sings praises of God, ministry

Kerwin Fealing

The arts were Shaffon Grodger’s first love. “I love to sing. I love to write my own songs. I love dancing,” said Grodger, a native of Jamaica and a fine arts student at Baton Rouge Community College. In 2009, Grodger got saved and experienced a newfound love relationship with God. “I love going to church,” … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Leaning on the Lord secret to longevity

Ivory Boatner

A steadfast faith and a hearty laugh have served Ivory Boatner well for most of her 101 years. “Do you want to live that long?” she asked last week, shortly after being treated to a birthday celebration at a Baton Rouge nursing facility. Boatner, who has been a member of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for 72 … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Churches need to fight death

Please process for Coffee Photo provided by Pooja Johnson Attending the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity's Founder's Day Church Service at Mount Zion First Baptist Church are, from left, Michael Robinson, chapter president; Adell Brown, Jr., National Pan-Hellenic Council Southwest Regional director; the Rev. Rene' Brown, pastor of Mount Zion First Baptist Church and Jackie Tucker, Basileus of Omicron Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Too many sick and dying churches in the country are in denial over their dire situations, a nationally renowned speaker, author and evangelist told a recent Baton Rouge seminar. “Most churches are moving toward death because they refuse to acknowledge their condition. Stop living in denial,” said the Rev. Manuel Scott Jr., of Los Angeles. Scott … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Faith and work lead to ‘Better’ days for Showers

Photo provided by REGINA SHOWERS-GORDON -- The Showers singing group is composed of seven siblings, from left, Tabitha Showers, Tillis, Melody Showers, Regina Showers-Gordon, Ciara Showers, Tiffany Showers-Pines, Angela Showers-Lloyd and Titus Showers.

Even during the tough times, the Showers singing group, of Hammond, always believed there were “Better” days ahead. So the success of the septet’s national debut album, “The Showers Family Group,” featuring the wonderful hit single “Better” and “Praise Your Way Through,” didn’t come as a surprise to the family. “Better” is No. 13 on Billboard’s … Continue reading →

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 →