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Summer Sounds kicks off with drummer Gerald French

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON-- Gerald French will kick off the Summer Sounds at St. James concert series on July 6.

The Summer Sounds at St. James kicks off July 6 and continues throughout the month. Sponsored by the St. James Center for Spiritual Formation, the series of musical concerts are scheduled at 7 p.m. each Wednesday in July at St. James Episcopal Church, 205 N. Fourth St., Baton Rouge. Admission for each concert is $10; free… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: How atheist played big part in ex-Baton Rouge gang member becoming Baptist minister


An atheist played a part in the Rev. Robert Scott’s journey into the ministry. Scott was newly saved after running with a notorious street gang, excited about God and was looking for a church home in 1995 when the admitted unbeliever directed him to King David Baptist Church on Harry Drive in Baton Rouge. “An atheist… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Southern Baptists reject the Confederate flag at convention Tuesday

The Southern Baptist Convention holds it annual meeting in June each year. Many years, actions taken at the meeting are noticed throughout the nation. The 2016 meeting was no different. On Tuesday, convention messengers adopted a resolution rejecting use of the Confederate flag. It urged “brothers and sisters in Christ to discontinue the display… Continue reading →

Trip to Israel fosters relationships

Photo provided by the Rev. S.C. DIXON -- The trip to Israel by members of the National Baptist Convention of America included a visit to the Western Wall, also known as the Wailing Wall, the last remaining part of the Jewish temple that was destroyed in A.D. 71.

For much of his life, the Rev. S.C. Dixon, of Greater Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, hasn’t thought badly of Israel. It simply wasn’t in his thoughts. “Growing up, when we thought of Israel and heard about Israel, very seldom did you discuss where people of color had any relations with Israel, with… Continue reading →

Mothers use journey of heart to help others in loss

Stephanie Maciasz and Beth Lowe are part of a club no one wants to join. But there is no shortage of eligible members. Each has buried at least one child. There is nothing in life to prepare a mother for that. “It’s an extremely hard grief to bear,” Maciasz said. “I’ve lost my mother, lost friends.… Continue reading →

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 →

FACETS OF FAITH: June 4, 2016, Ramadan

Lebanese workers raise a crescent decoration that reads, "Happy Ramadan" as they prepare the streets for the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, in the southern port city of Sidon, Lebanon, Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Devout Muslims throughout the world will begin to celebrate Ramadan next week, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, refraining from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from sunrise to sunset. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari)

Each year, the Council on American-Islamic relations issues a news release on the upcoming holiday Ramadan, which starts at sundown Monday, June 6, this year. Visit the group’s website to learn more about Islam and Ramadan. Here are some of the questions and answers from the release: How did the fast during Ramadan… Continue reading →

Be reconciled: Mount Zion, Greater First Church work to heal rift

Photo provided by Gerald Sigers -- The Rev. Rene’ Brown, the Rev.Anthony Kelley, Bro. Jesse Brown

Often, when pastors and churches go their separate ways in a divisive split, the two never come together again. But two ministers here have been to able to help heal the wounds — even though it took a decade to happen. To celebrate a milestone at his new church, the Rev. Anthony Kelley extended an olive… Continue reading →

Celebrating a founder of the Baptists

While much of the religious world readies to mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017, an anniversary of a later “reformation” isn’t being heralded as loud. 2016 marks 400 years since the death of Thomas Helwys, one of the founders of the Baptist denomination. Helwys was an English country gentleman and lawyer. Helwys… Continue reading →

Renowned Kursk Root icon to visit St. Francisville church

Kursk Root Icon

In Russian Orthodox iconography, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Kursk Root Icon. Among Russian Orthodox congregations, they don’t get much smaller than St. John the Theologian Orthodox Mission in St. Francisville. But the 13th-century icon will be at the church for a 7 p.m. service on Tuesday. “This is one of the main icons… 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 →

Denham Springs Prayer Breakfast set

The Denham Springs Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be held May 5. The breakfast, which starts at 6:30 a.m. with the program starting at 7 a.m., is sponsored by Mayor Gerard Landry, the Denham Springs Kiwanis Club, the West Livingston Kiwanis Club and the Livingston Council on Aging in recognition of the National Day of Prayer. The… Continue reading →

Religion Bulletins for April 30, 2016

Bishop Charles E. and First Lady Gladys Wallace

WORSHIP SERVICES: 11 a.m. New Covenant Christian Center, 6515 Myrtle St. (225) 775-3127. HOUR OF POWER PRAYER: 6:30 p.m., New Covenant Christian Center, 6515 Myrtle St. (225) 775-3127. Bible study follows at 7:30 p.m. PRE-MOTHER’S DAY BRUNCH: 9 a.m., Shady Grove… Continue reading →

Religion bulletins for April 23, 2016

Photo provided by L.L. HARRIS -- Mount Hope Anniversary -- Pastor L.L. Harris and First Lady Lille J. Harris led the 142nd anniverary celebration of Mount Hope Baptist Church in Clinton on March 20.

MEN’S & WOMEN’S DAY: 11 a.m., Shady Grove First Missionary Baptist Church, 16443 Plank Road. The Rev. Jerry Dixion, of New Covenant Christian Center, will speak. (225) 778-0922. HOUR OF POWER PRAYER: 6:30 p.m., New Covenant Christian Center, 6515 Myrtle St. (225) 775-3127. Bible Study is… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Each new translation delivers Bible to millions

In the U.S., it seems a new English Bible translation or format comes out every year, and many people own multiple Bibles. So it can seem incomprehensible that there are language groups that don’t even have one Bible translated for its people. An update from and United Bible Societies ( proclaiming 50 new translations finished… Continue reading →

New Salem Baptist celebrates 115 years

New Salem Missionary Baptist Church will celebrate its 115th church anniversary at its 11 a.m. services Sunday. The Rev. Manley Metoyer, assistant pastor of Greater Mount Gideon Baptist Church, will be the guest speaker for the grand occasion. The church has been in the same location at 318 Eddie Robinson Jr. Drive for all of… 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 →

Religion Bulletins for April 9, 2016

WORSHIP SERVICES: 11 a.m., New Covenant Christian Center, 6515 Myrtle St. (225) 775-3127. HOUR OF POWER PRAYER: 6:30 p.m., New Covenant Christian Center, 6515 Myrtle St. Followed by Bible Study at 7:30 p.m. St. Jude… Continue reading →

Facets of Faith: Church performing classic Narnia story

The Creative Arts department of First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge will present a free production of “Narnia, the Musical” in April. The production is based on “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which is the first book C.S. Lewis wrote in the Narnia series. Lewis was already an… Continue reading →

Mormon Tabernacle Choir director to lead concert in Lafayette

Asbury United Methodist Church will welcome Dr. Mack Wilberg, music director of the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir, on Sunday, April 17, to conduct the Asbury Choir and members of the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra in a concert featuring a variety of his celebrated compositions and arrangements. Admission to the 6:30 p.m.… Continue reading →

During recent south Louisiana flooding, faith community rises to occasion

Photo provided by Louisiana Conference of The United Methodist Church -- Volunteers from Asbury United Methodist Church in Bossier City deliver cleaning buckets and lunches to area residents impacted by flooding.

As the rains came down and the floods came up across Louisiana last month, the faith community responded quickly and efficiently, just as it always does in times of trouble. Churches provided shelters and boats to evacuate flood victims. Hundreds of volunteers from around the U.S. came and remain here feeding residents and helping them clean… Continue reading →

Meet Baton Rouge native Ellis Wilkinson -- the once imprisoned armed robber turned baptist minister

Ellis Wilkinson (far right) is now a licensed minister after being a prisoner for 23 years. (Courtesy photo)

“Jailhouse religion” wasn’t enough for Ellis Wilkinson. The Baton Rouge native desired more of a relationship with God during his 23 years in prison and has maintained that fervor since being released 18 months ago. “They came up with that saying (jailhouse religion) because so many people go to prison and while they’re in prison,… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge's Grace Presbyterian Church turns 90

Photo provided by Grace Presbyterian Church -- Grace Presbyterian Church on Joor Road is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Sunday, April 3.

Grace Presbyterian Church on Joor Road is celebrating its 90th anniversary on Sunday, April 3. The celebration will be held at the church (formerly Monte Sano Presbyterian Church) beginning at 9:15 a.m. with combined Sunday School classes, where updates will be given by former pastors and friends of Grace Presbyterian Church. The morning Worship and… Continue reading →

Lanier Baptist Church’s Easter play takes ‘storybook’ approach to Jesus’ life, death, resurrection

Photo by STEPHANIE FERGUSON -- Jesus, played by Joseph Ferguson, tells a crowd of children about God's love in Lanier Baptist Church's production of 'His Amazing Love.'

“His Amazing Love,” a musical-drama portraying the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, will be performed three times Easter weekend at Lanier Baptist Church. The free presentation includes a cast of more than 70 actors of all ages and sets that span from the Garden of Eden to the manger where Jesus… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Pastor urges flock to rethink Easter, consider ‘who we are as Christians’

 Jane Youtz Rieck

Thoughts of Easter reinvigorate the heart of the Rev. Jane Youtz Riecke. The senior pastor at University United Methodist Church is encouraging her congregation to “rethink” with her as she prepares for her first Easter service in Baton Rouge. “We rethink Easter by looking at the new life that’s provided,” she said. “We rethink Easter by… Continue reading →

Love translated: Southern Baptists, Vietnamese combine to make one church

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Vietnamese Hope Baptist Church's worship team, from left, Vu Luong, Bien-Huyen Luong and Diem-Phuc Bui lead the congregation in traditional Christian hymns, sung in Vietnamese. Many of the church's women wear beautiful traditional silk dresses every Sunday.

Like its name, Vietnamese Hope Baptist Church is a hybrid, bringing together Southern Baptist theology and Vietnamese culture. Located at 7133 Greenwell Springs Road, the church has two pastors — the Rev. Vihn Trong Nguyen and the Rev. Joel Hilbun. The songs are all sung in Vietnamese, but Nguyen preaches his sermons in both English and… Continue reading →

Group works to clear adoption misconceptions

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- At a Catholic Charities-sponsored adoption forum, Alison Dazzio says women experiencing a crisis pregnancy need friendship and counseling, while moderator Chris Price, left, and Charlene Denoux and David Scotton listen.

Nina, a waitress who works in a busy New York City restaurant, discovers she is pregnant and decides to have an abortion because, she tells a friend, “I can’t even take care of myself, let alone a baby.” Her friend Jose, the restaurant’s chef, counsels her to consider adoption but supports her by accompanying her to an… Continue reading →

Traditional St. Joseph’s Altars a reflection of deep devotion

Photo provided by Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center -- Chef John Folse shows one of the offerings at the St. Joseph Altar hosted by the Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center.

Several thousand people are expected to attend the St. Joseph’s Altar at Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center on Sunday, March 13. The altar is free and open to the public from 12:30-4 p.m. at the center, 17650 George O’Neal Lane, near White Oak Plantation. St. Joseph’s Altars are a reflection… Continue reading →

Stations keeping Catholicism on radio full time in Baton Rouge, New Orleans

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Host Johnny Hebert, regular contributor Karen Hornsby, the Rev. Chris Decker and producer Gaby Smith, from left, broadcast the weekday morning show 'Wake Up' on Catholic Community Radio. The show airs on the WPYR in Baton Rouge and WQNO in New Orleans.

David Dawson’s job as an independent paralegal 10 years ago had him in his car a lot, so he got to know what was on the radio. And what wasn’t. “Johnny (Hebert) and I were discussing way back when: Why don’t we have Catholic radio in Baton Rouge?” Dawson recalled. “There’s nothing that represents the Catholic faith.”… Continue reading →

Faith Matters: Pastor’s faith never wavered despite experiences

Photo provided by PAUL HAMMONTREEAmy and Paul Hammontree

Moving from California to Baton Rouge with no job took faith for Paul Hammontree in 2005. Purchasing a home online without ever having visited Louisiana took faith. Battling a rare and deadly cancer required Hammontree to take his faith to another level. “That was a real test of my faith,” he said of the 2014… Continue reading →

Teen hopes to inspire young people with book of devotionals

Photo by MARK H. HUNTER -- Teen devotional writer Victoria Lira, author of 'I Have Called You for Such a Time as This,' works on her second book at the kitchen counter with her Bible, laptop and notebooks.

When Victoria Lira was 7 years old, she had a dream of being in the clouds with her younger brother, Joshua, in what evangelical Christians call “the rapture.” That dream of going to heaven was so powerful and memorable, she wrote it down in a diary.… Continue reading →

Salvation Army seeks relief for men’s shelter

Advocate staff photo by LESLIE WESTBROOK --  Maj. Mel James and Maj. Esther James, of the Salvation Army in Lafayette, say the Empty Bowl fundraiser on Feb. 25 will benefit the men?s shelter.

Maj. Esther James is a Salvation Army pastor with 47 years in the ranks. But her mission is far from over. To benefit the church’s men’s shelter, the Salvation Army will host its second annual Empty Bowl fundraiser Feb. 25 at River Oaks in Lafayette. “When the men come to us — some have… Continue reading →