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Law enforcement officers recognized in special service

Photo provided by PATRICIA TURNER-BROWN -- At the Sons of Allen of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Father's Day celebration, which also honored law enforcement officers, are, front row from left, Freddie Wiliams, honored as 'Grandfather of the Year'; Lowell Major Sr., 'Father of the Year,' and Kenri Avery, 'Man of the Year,' and, back row, Bethel pastor, the Rev. Dr. Herman Kelly Jr. and Sons of Allen President David Whiten.

The Sons of Allen of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, led by President David Whiten, observed Father’s Day with a special service recognizing law enforcement officers and men of the church. The message was delivered by the Rev. Riley Harbor, pastor of Rock Zion Baptist Church in St. Gabriel and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Burtville. Harbor is… 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 →

Answered prayers, recovery for Father’s Day

Photo provided by GEORGE HOLDER -- Pete and Carol Dazzio, center, with their five children, four in-laws and 18 grandchildren -- 29 family members in all -- in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. On the family trip, the couple, who marked 50 years of marriage in January, renewed their vows. The trip came after Pete Dazzio was almost killed in a car accident last fall.

When Pete Dazzio celebrates Father’s Day tomorrow, it will seem more like Thanksgiving Day. A Baton Rouge attorney, the 74-year-old Dazzio is the patriarch of a 29-member family who recently traveled halfway around the world for prayer and reflection on a long journey of faith and recovery from a serious brain injury that… Continue reading →

Pastor wants to improve African-American families through fathers

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- The Rev. Donald Hunter Sr., pastor of New Beginning Baptist Church and head of The Black Family Initiative, a local group dedicated to healing broken families, holds a portrait of his own family of five grown children and 12 grandchildren near a family photo display in the annex of the church.

The state of fatherhood in the African-American family is “over the cliff” in one local pastor’s words. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a think tank that documents American culture, in 72 percent of African-American families, there is no father. Comparatively, in 70 percent of white families, 66 percent of Hispanic families and 72… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Recalling the church fathers

. ‚ÄčAs we celebrate our fathers, we also talk about fathers of things, such as George Washington being the father of the United States.

In Christianity, there are church fathers, which the American Heritage Dictionary says are “any of the authoritative early writers in the Christian church who formulated doctrines and codified religious observances.”

This encompasses a large number… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for June 20. 2015

Addis RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS WOMEN’S GROUP: 6 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1. A support group for women seeking freedom from destructive habits. (225) 776-1652, ellie@churchataddis.com or facebook.com/recoverysupportaddis. RECOVERY SUPPORT ADDIS MEN’S GROUP: 7 p.m., Church at Addis, 6781 La. 1. A support group for men seeking… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Anti-abortion advocate hopes to help others heal

Kathy Allenstate director the Louisiana Black Advocates for Life

Healing after an abortion was a difficult process for Kathy Allen. “It takes a long time,” said the 54-year-old, who had an abortion at age 19. But Allen said her relationship with Christ has not only allowed her to heal but enables her to help other women dealing with an abortion or preventing them from making… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge doctor travels to Guatemala to help treat poor

Dr. Lee Bruner, an ear-nose-and throat doctor and elder at Broadmoor Presbyterian Church, recently completed a 10-day mission trip to Guatemala. With him is Guatemalan pediatrician Dr. Sylvia Rucinos,who interpreted for the American group.

Dr. Lee Bruner, an ear-nose-and-throat doctor and elder at Broadmoor Presbyterian Church, recently completed a 10-day mission trip to Guatemala to treat residents there who live in extreme poverty. “It was my first mission trip, and the way I found it was providential,” said Bruner, explaining that he heard a visiting physician speak to the ENT Medical… Continue reading →

Priests being ordained in Diocese of Lafayette

Two priests will be ordained Saturday in the Diocese of Lafayette. In 10 a.m. ceremonies in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, Bishop Michael Jarrell will confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders on the Revs. Travis Abadie and Charles William Massie IV. Abadie is the son of Jules Abadie and Sharon… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith for June 6, 2015

Pope Francis is publishing an encyclical, or letter, about the environment later this year. While it won’t carry the weight of church law, this type of letter to the bishops carries much authority in theological debates. And this one is already triggering debates. So, what should you consider when preparing to read the pope’s… Continue reading →

Diocese of Baton Rouge transfers three priests, assigns three deacons new positions; parishioners at Christ the King, St. Aloysius to see fresh faces

Father Joshua Johnson

Bishop Robert Muench will transfer three priests and assign three deacons positions once they are ordained priests starting July 1, the Diocese of Baton Rouge has announced. TheRev. Joshua D. Johnson, 27, current parochial vicar at Christ the King Church at LSU, will become parochial vicar at St. Aloysius Church in Baton Rouge.… Continue reading →

New president of Pineville college stops at Baton Rouge church on state tour

Advocate photo by Mark H. Hunter -- The Rev. Dr. Rick Brewer, the newest president of Louisiana College, kicked off his tour of area Baptist churches by speaking and playing the piano at Woodlawn Baptist Church in Baton Rouge on May 17.

The newest president of Louisiana’s only Baptist college visited the oldest Baptist church in East Baton Rouge Parish to introduce himself and encourage parents to send their students there. The Rev. Rick Brewer, ninth president of Louisiana College, spoke to the congregation of Woodlawn Baptist Church, established in 1850, and received a warm reception… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: New books, movie offer study options

Bible Women: All Their Words and Why they Matter by Lindsay Hardin Freeman

Lots of interesting things come across my desk. Recent items include books, a DVD and a conference notice. Here’s a sampling of recent products. Chad Gibb’s first book “God and Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC” incliuded his visit to an LSU football game. I wrote about it… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Buddhist temple to celebrate anniversary

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- The Tam Bao Temple is celebrating 30 years in the Baton Rouge community. It moved to this property at 975 Monterrey Blvd. in 2000.

Covered in the immense shade of live oak trees, the grounds of Baton Rouge’s Tam Bao Temple exude peacefulness. Tucked into a large lot on Monterrey Boulevard not far from Florida Boulevard and Cortana Mall, the Buddhist temple provides an oasis of calm, said Thich Dao Quang, the abbot, or administrator, of the… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Grace Life dives into relationship with Lasalle

The school year has been a learning and loving experience for some members of Grace Life Fellowship Church in Baton Rouge. In its mission to reach the community, the church answered the call to get involved in schools, establishing a relationship with Lasalle Elementary School at 8000 Lasalle St. “We had wanted to get connected to… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Seeking music stories

Music plays a big role in religious celebrations, and the Louisiana Folklife Program is looking to identify traditional sacred music ensembles of all faiths. Program Director Maida Owens said this project is part of a larger project to document Baton Rouge traditions. To see the work already done, visit louisianafolklife.org/batonrouge/. “Very… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge, Cuban churches renew 25-year partnership

Photo by LORI TUCKER -- The Rev. Armando Guedes, pastor of La Iglesia Presbiteriana Getsemani in San Jose de Los Ramos, Cuba, left, and George Strain, a member of University Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, show off a  framed copy of a covenant acknowledging and renewing the 25-year partnership between the two churches. Copies will be displayed at both churches.

Presbyterian pastors in several Cuban churches are optimistic that improved relations with the U.S. will mean good things for the island and their congregations. And members of University Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge who recently traveled there said… Continue reading →

After 70 years, Blind Boys of Alabama still singing for love

Photo provided by Sue Schrader -- The Blind Boys of Alabama, from left: Ricky McKinnie, Paul Beasely, Jimmy Carter, Ben Moore and Joey Williams.

When The Blind Boys of Alabama step on a stage, they’re on a mission. Original member Jimmy Carter introduces the gospel group, which was formed in 1944 by students at the Talladega Institute for the Deaf and Blind. Carter also sets up the songs and, led by The Blind Boys’ road manager, Willie “Chuck” Shivers, walks… 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 →

Speaker will discuss human trafficking

Sister Eugenia Bonetti will speak about the global problem of human trafficking and local efforts to combat it at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 9, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, 4727 McHugh Drive in Zachary. Bonetti has founded numerous homes in Italy that serve as safe havens for women and girls who have been rescued from… Continue reading →

Former SAAB showroom home to Baton Rouge Anglican church

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- The Rev. Clark W.P. Lowenfield, bishop of the Anglican Diocese of the Western Gulf Coast, calls the new Holy Cross Anglican Church a 'mission outpost ... where others can come and taster and see and know Jesus as they come into His kingdom.'

At first glance, a Cadillac dealer’s showroom may not seem like a “mission outpost” of Christianity, but that’s exactly how Holy Cross Anglican Church was described by a visiting bishop when he blessed the congregation last Sunday evening. Holy Cross Anglican worships at the Gerry Lane Cadillac dealership, in a spacious showroom… Continue reading →

Evangelist Ravi Zacharias speaks at Governor’s Prayer Breakfast

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- 'We literally are in quicksand of sinking values,' Ravi Zacharias told the more than 1,200 people attending the 51st annual Louisiana Governor's Prayer Breakfast on April 15 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Baton Rouge.

International evangelist Ravi Zacharias is calling on America to return to biblical faith and moral values, and he’s encouraging Louisiana to lead the way. “We are a nation today trying to reconcile liberty with law, and it looks like liberty trumps law, but again and again and again anarchy tends to break out,” Zacharias said recently.… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Apologetics not an apology but a formal defense of Christianity

In today’s story about the 2015 Governor’s Prayer Breakfast, the featured speaker, Ravi Zacharias, is called an apologist. This term confuses many people because they feel it means the person apologizes for Christianity. Instead, apologetics is a formal defense of a topic. It comes from a Greek word that means “to defend, to make reply, to… Continue reading →

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 →