July 27, 2012
Riley retires as pastor of Old Mount Olive
The Rev. Joseph Riley, of Plaquemine, has retired again and soon his nephew will take his place as pastor of Old Mount Olive Baptist Church in Grosse Tete.
Riley, a civil rights activist, retired two years ago from St. Mark Baptist Church in Chamberlin, where he served as pastor for 16 years.
On Sunday, he ended his 18-year service as pastor to Old Mount Olive, though the 70-year-old will continue to serve as pastor emeritus.
“I did like Paul,” Riley said in a written statement. “I looked back over my life at the many lives that I’ve touched. We’ve had many accomplishments under my pastoral era. Our church sanctuary was paid for in record time; I’ve taken in thousands of lost souls at the church, and when I surveyed my contributions, I came to a conclusion: I have fought a good fight. I’m ready to retire.”
On June 10, the church will install the Rev. Hiram Blanchard, a native of Grosse Tete, as pastor.
“I saw something in my nephew Hiram when he began working with the music ministry of the church and learned to play the organ and began directing our youth choir,” Riley said. “He is ready to take the helm.”
Blanchard will graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a bachelor’s degree in Christian ministry in the summer. He said he’s learned from his uncle “that to preach well, the words that you’re preaching have to master you, have to convince you before you can preach them.”
In addition to the ministry, Riley has worked as a school bus driver and a construction worker. He served two tours with the Army in Vietnam. His civil rights activism began decades ago while a student at Southern University.
He and his wife of 47 years, Lou Ethel, have three adult children six grandchildren and one great grandson.
AME church begins services in Gonzales
Bishop Carolyn Tyler Guidry, presiding prelate of the 8th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, has established a new congregation in Gonzales.
Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Church will begin holding church services at 8 a.m. Sunday at the newly renovated Howard Johnson Post 557 American Legion Hall, 1711 Tobey Ave., Gonzales.
The Rev. Orin J. Blouin will serve as pastor.
Trinity joins St. Luke AME in Donaldsonville as the only AME churches in Ascension Parish.
Scott Rogers serving as interim leader
Scott Rogers, host of the “Around Town” television show, is serving as interim spiritual leader at Unity Church of Christianity.
The church, which has been without a spiritual leader since the fall, has relied on a variety of guest speakers, with Rogers filling in more than once.
As interim, he will speak each Sunday but leads the final one of the month.
The church at 15255 Jefferson Highway has services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays.
Catholic Radio leader Norwood dead at 63
Michael York Norwood, 63, vice president of Catholic Community Radio (1380 AM), died Sunday at his home.
Norwood was a member of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church.
Norwood came to independent, noncommercial Catholic Community Radio with more than 37 years of experience in radio sales.
Putting programming together for the station, Norwood told The Advocate in 2010, had broadened his knowledge of his Catholic faith. “It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life,” he said.
His family suggested that any memorials be made to Catholic Community Radio, 8230 Summa Ave., Suite A, Baton Rouge, LA 70809.