Religious leaders share hopes, prayers, resolutions for new year

Show caption
  • n

The Most Rev. Robert W. Muench, Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge

“My hope and prayer for 2014 is that all of us in this regional community may better recognize how blessed we are, be committed to work together to make progress in overcoming our challenges, and dedicate ourselves to increased service of the less advantaged among us.”

RESOLUTION:

“To even more personally seek, intentionally find and conscientiously reflect the presence of God.”

  • n

The Very Rev. J. Mark Holland, Rector of St. James Episcopal Church, Baton Rouge

“My hope and prayer for Baton Rouge in 2014 is that people of good faith will find the courage to live into the words of the prophet Isaiah: The time will come when, ‘the wolf lives with the lamb, the leopard lies down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.’ Then the Peaceable Kingdom of God shall reign and no longer will we view each other as predator or prey.”

RESOLUTION:

“My resolution for the new year is to be quick to ask for forgiveness when I have gone astray and to be even quicker to grant forgiveness whenever it is asked of me.”

  • n

Bishop Raymond W. Johnson, pastor and founder of Living Faith Christian Center, Baton Rouge

“My hope is that people everywhere will live in peace and harmony, especially in the USA.

RESOLUTION:

“My resolution is to reach out more to those who are in need and hurting in our community.”

  • n

The Rev. Dr. Jeff Ginn, senior pastor of Istrouma Baptist Church, Baton Rouge

“My hope and prayer for 2014 would be exactly what Jesus taught us to pray, namely: ‘Thy kingdom come, thy will be done!’ The more that God’s kingdom comes, the more that his will is done, the more that we will find true satisfaction. Violence, conflict, greed, jealousy and a thousand other maladies exist because his kingdom has not yet fully come, nor have we completely submitted to his will. We can pray for peace and joy, but they are simply the byproducts of his kingdom.”

RESOLUTION:

“If I pray that the Lord’s kingdom would come, I ought to resolve to live as His loyal subject. If I pray that His will be done, then my resolution needs to be that I will follow His will more faithfully in the coming year than I ever have before.”

  • n

Rabbi Jordan Goldson, Congregation B’nai Israel, Baton Rouge

“My hope and prayer for 2014 is that we will find the wisdom, the strength and the courage to create a city that is sustainable economically, socially and environmentally.”

RESOLUTION:

“My resolution is to live life in the present with gratitude and joy.”

  • n

Rabbi Thomas Gardner, Beth Shalom Synagogue, Baton Rouge

“I have many prayers for 2014, and most of them have to do with the children of Gd finding their love for each other. This is a hard world, and there is a lot of pain in it, without people deliberately causing pain. If we could only rediscover the value in each person, find our love and let it overcome our desire for what is unimportant in the world, we could solve some of our problems, including the tragedy in Syria, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the inability of our own government to act.”

RESOLUTION:

“I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, but I am determined to work on my relationship with Gd. We show our love to family and friends, and the holiday season is full of parties and gifts, but we all should take some time to work on that relationship with the Holy One. I think His resolution is to work on his relationship with us!”

  • n

The Rev. Mike Haman, senior pastor of Healing Place Church

“The light of Jesus Christ would shine in the streets of our community, and bring hope to the hopeless, help to the helpless, friendship to the friendless and encouragement to the discouraged.”

RESOLUTION:

“I always enjoy reading the Bible through in a year and committing Scripture to memory.”

  • n

The Rev. Fred Jeff Smith, senior pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Baton Rouge

“My hope and prayer for 2014 is that the leadership of this community/region will adopt the theme of ‘Peace on earth, goodwill toward men’ throughout the year, and with particular concern for the least that are among us — the least economically, academically, socially, etc.”

RESOLUTION:

“My resolution for 2014 is to be a better example of Christ to my community by being a better servant of my community.”

  • n

The Rev. Jonathan Stockstill, senior pastor of Bethany Church, Baton Rouge

“I pray 2014 is a year that people far from God would find themselves drawn into a right standing relationship with Him because of the love expressed by the people of God. I would pray for greater church unity, not only in heart but in action. May this be the year that the church rises up like never before to demonstrate the love that Jesus has for humanity.”

  • n

The Bishop Charles E. Wallace, senior pastor of Oasis Christian Church, Baton Rouge

“My prayer and hope for this coming year for our community is that we can truly, genuinely come together in one accord. I believe that we can do more together — a team will make the dream work. I believe that if the community can see the faith community function as one it will encourage everyone else to come together regardless of our denomination, ethnicity or whatever our cultural differences are. We can move forward together and truly have a better Baton Rouge.”

  • n

The Rev. Dr. Gerrit Dawson, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Baton Rouge

“My hope and prayer for 2014 is threefold: 1. That Christ’s people would recover their joy in the Gospel and their optimism about God’s future for the world. That means we’ll stop whining and get serving! 2. That our hearts would turn to the least and the lost of our city and enact meaningful solutions to create change from the inside out. 3. That our nation would turn from the new fascism that allows no disagreement on what is currently ‘correct’ thinking. That once again we could discuss charitably and debate meaningfully the great issues of the time.”

RESOLUTION:

“My resolution is to consecrate myself to living to serve instead of seeking to be served. To focus on giving away my life instead of just getting what I want. In short, to live to bless.”

  • n

Bishop Cynthia Fierro-Harvey, Louisiana United Methodist Church Annual Conference

“Journeying through the Advent season, we have lit a candle each week as we long for the light of Christ to burn brightly in what is often a dark world. My prayer and hope, as we lit the Christ candle on Christmas Eve, is that not only will the light of Christ provide hope into those dark places, but that we will carry the light of Christ into our communities that all might experience the love of Christ.”

RESOLUTION:

“I make few resolutions, but I do have hopes that the United Methodist Churches in Louisiana lead others to abundant life in Christ, and engage in the community in significant ways; that they learn, live and tell the Gospel story and that they might reach out and draw in people from all walks of life, resulting in alive and vibrant congregations.”

  • n

The Rev. Robin McCullough-Bade, Lutheran pastor and executive director of the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge

“My prayer is for ‘Shalom,’ which is more than the absence of violence, but includes good health, shelter, food, education, safety and overall wellbeing for everyone. May each of us wage peace, so all might experience shalom.”

RESOLUTION:

“In 2014, I plan to adopt the tag line of the late Rev. Freddie Henderson to ‘travel light.’ To me, that means to be present to the day without being burdened by the worries of yesterday or tomorrow, It also means reducing my inventory of things and sharing with those in need. Travel Light!”