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 →

Faith Matters: Inspirational Mimes

Photo provided by DIVA PAIGE -- Siblings Jassamine Paige, Kejuan Collins and Ja'Warren Scott make up the group Inspirational Mimes.

The inspiration behind the Inspirational Mimes comes from a love of dancing, music and God. The Baton Rouge group has been performing formally for less than three months but have known each other all their lives. “When we’re not at church, they’re at home with the music loud, and … Continue reading →

“Faith Matters” column for Aug. 24, 2013

Little Rock Baptist Church in Slaughter will be celebrating its 150th anniversary on Sunday. From left, are deacon John Coates, CL Thornton; the Rev. Marvin Moore, deacon Arthur Coates and Bruce Thornton.

Founders and early members of Little Rock Baptist Church in Slaughter had a “spirit of perseverance” and a love for God and his word. And many of their descendants are grateful those characteristics have endured at one of East Feliciana Parish’s oldest churches, which will be celebrating its 150th anniversary at 2 p.m. Sunday. “I’m so … Continue reading →

“Faith Matters” column for Aug. 10, 2013

Advocate staff photo by VERONICA DOMINACH -- David Lauricella Jr., 30, of New Orleans, who succeeded his grandfather as the pastor of Harahan Christian Church, speaks to his congregation at a Thursday night Bible study.

David Lauricella Jr. had visions of going into the corporate world after graduating with a business management degree from Loyola University — not following his father and grandfather in their respective professions. “I was thinking about finding a good job and living the American dream,” he said. But Lauricella, 30, of Loranger, ended up going to work for his … Continue reading →

FAITH MATTERS: Counselor switches to Christian practice

Dana Vicellio

School counseling has given way to Chrisitan counseling for Dana Vicellio, of Zachary. Vicellio spent 25 years as a teacher and counselor in Zachary schools and for the past three years also has been running her own part-time Christian counseling service. In May, the 50-year-old licensed practical counselor retired from her school job to focus on her … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Beeson’s BR Bible school to recognize first grads

Photo provided by THELMA JONESThe Rev. Mary Moss, front center in red dress, pastor of St. Alma Baptist Church in Lakeland and director of Southeast Regional Biblical Institute in Baton Rouge, joins with graduates of the institute's first certificate program. Front row from left: Sandra Matthews, Olivia Carter, Patsy Wilkerson, Moss, Samantha Robinson, Ruby Williams, Linda Johnson, Lou Ella Lathers and Thelma Jones. Back row: Diana Davis, Cecil Clark, Barbara Williams, Robert Lockett, the Rev. Cleveland Richard, Herman Robinson, the Rev. Anthony Royal, Sharon Y. Newman, Alfred Martin and Johnella Grayer

A longtime teacher in Baton Rouge and a student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Linda Johnson relishes the opportunity to enhance her learning, particularly in the area of ministry. Two years ago, Johnson was among the first group of students to register for the Southeast Regional Biblical Institute in Baton Rouge, an extension of the Beeson … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Grace Works helps addicts transform behaviors

Billy King

The Transformed by Grace program seeks to help those who have fallen victim to drug addiction and other destructive behaviors. “We don’t win them all by any means ... but we keep trying,” leader Billy King said of the faith-based support group which meets at 6:30 p.m. each Monday at Grace Works Church, 16131 La. 44, Prairieville. … Continue reading →

Faith Matters


Humming a hymn is just as satisfying as singing for tenor Earl Taylor. "There's something about moaning," said Taylor, a retired Southern University professor and former longtime member of the musical staff at Mount Zion Baptist Church of Baton Rouge. "There's something about humming. "There's something about what it makes you feel like when you allow your soul, … Continue reading →

FAITH MATTERS: Rabbis say Passover has meaning for all


The lesson of Passover goes beyond commemorating the liberation of the Jews. Louisiana rabbis also see a challenge to strive for the freedom of all people. “The Passover is a holiday that reminds us of what it was like to be slaves and to live in conditions of indignity, and we move from that condition of indignity … Continue reading →

Man’s healing leads to start of alternative funeral home

As a funeral home director, David Singletary, of St. Amant, has plenty of professional experience with death. But a decade ago that experience nearly became too personal. Singletary was suffering from sarcoidosis, a potentially fatal inflammatory disease that mostly affected his lungs. “There were a couple of times I almost died,” he said. “I said, … Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Unitarian Church of BR to ordain minister

Photo provided by Steve Crump -- Nathan A. Ryan, assistant minister, of the Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge will be ordained by the congregation on Sunday.

When the call to the ministry came at age 17, Nathan Ryan was willing, but not ready, to answer. "I didn't feel like I could serve people if I hadn't been into the real world," he said. After graduating from LSU, earning a master's degree and years of service in the church, Ryan said he is ready. On Sunday, the Slidell native will … Continue reading →