MOED installs new officers, vows to be more inclusive of women

Willie Dunkley and Mark Vassar present an award to Joe Green

Attorney Mike Johnson and Willie Dunkley

Willie Dunkley presents award to Johnnie Varnado.

Elton Pody of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce

By Sherri L. Jackson

The Rev. Henry Williams Jr. is the new president of the Ministers of Economic Development, an entity created in 2004 to help build a positive environment that would bring about economic development in Alexandria.

Williams is pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church in Alexandria. The installation ceremony was held Sunday, June 6, at St. Matthew Baptist Church in Boyce. Dr. Joe S. Green is pastor.

“MOED will move beyond the ordinary to the extraordinary,” Williams said.

The organization began in 2004 when two ministers called Johnnie Varnado, the then newly elected president of the Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce. The ministers were concerned about “the direction the Chamber would take to improve the economic condition of the community,” according to the group’s history. At that time, the ministers believed drugs, crime and rundown vacant housing were major issues for the community.

To begin addressing the problems, about 14 ministers agreed to begin preaching the same sermon at their individual churches. The sermons would focus on reverence for God, respect for parents and regard for the law.

“As long as we were preaching these topics, crime went down,” said Rev. Green. “Chief (Darren) Coutee didn’t believe it would work, but he had to come back to us to say that the crime statistics showed a decrease. As soon as we quit preaching those topics, crime went back up.”

Other programs MOED has been involved in include the Help, Hope Healing Project, which assisted Hurricane Katrina evacuees, Clergy in the Classroom, which provides ministers in the schools to monitor and counsel students and Ministry in ER, which provides ministerial services to patients and families at Christus St. Frances Cabrini Hospital.

During Sunday’s program, Elder Mark Vassar, the immediate past president, was the speaker. He emphasized the need for MOED, which is mostly comprised of black male ministers, to be more inclusive of all ministers, including women.

Williams echoed Vassar’s call to broaden its membership and to become more flexible and open to change.

The program also paid homage to Varnado, who MOED considers to be the “mother” of the organization.

Other officers are Willie J. Dunkley, chairman; Floyd Kirts, vice president; Averri LeMalle, second-vice president; Eugene Stevenson, secretary; and William Dearbone, treasurer. Attorney Michael Johnson serves as the legal adviser.

Program participants included Hollie Thornton, Mitch Daniels, and Elton Pody. Williams performed a saxophone solo.

National Day of Prayer Gathering to take place today

The Pentecostals of Alexandria will host a  Community National Day of Prayer Gathering from  12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. today, May 6, at the church, located at 2817 Rapides Ave.

The public is invited to the gathering, which will take place in the sanctuary, and also is invited to visit the church’s prayer room from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, May 6. The prayer room includes books and interactive items to help visitors focus on
praying, according to Patricia Owens, events

Meanwhile, in Pineville, the event will take place on the steps of Pineville City Hall, said Pastor Nathan Martin

For more than 15 years, citizens of Cenla have been gathering at this location on the National Day of Prayer for an informal time of prayer for the nation, state and city.

Martin said there is no agenda, no set leader and no program. Prayers will be offered by anyone who desires to pray. The event will end with a hymn.

All faiths and denominations are invited to participate in this national event.

2nd Evening Star congregation dedicates new facility

The members of Second Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church dedicated their new church facility in a ceremony that featured singing, preaching, and eating.

The church is located at 150 Cooper Road in Alexandria. The congregation had been worshiping at their building located on Hot Wells Springs Road.

The theme of the celebration was “Dare to Trust, Dare to Believe,” taken from Psalm 27:3-5 and Mark 9:23.

The Rev. Ameal Jones, pastor  of  Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Alexandria and former pastor of Second Evening Star, was the speaker.

During the celebration, Pastor Phillip Taylor presented a recognition to the family of the late John Feazell, who had been instrumental in helping the congregation get the necessary permits from the Health Department.

“We were dead in the water as we ran into a hurdle that we didn’t know how to get around,” Taylor said. “Someone told us about John Feazell, who had helped them get an oxidation pond. Mr. Feazell worked with us to get what we needed to pass the Health Department requirement.”

“Unfortunately, God called Mr. Feazell home before we completed the church. His family his here with us today,” Taylor said. Feazell of Boyce died in September 2009.

Other program participants included Juliette Brown, Sarah Lloyd, Cornelius Smith, and Shelia Dupar.

The church’s building committee included Taylor, Eugene King, Alex Salters, Smith and George Jones. The Dedication Service Committee included Ethel Quinney, chairwoman; Eugene King, co-chair; Juliette Brown, Maggie Brown, Alma Fletcher, Carrie McKinney, Cheryl Ridley, Frankie Rosenthal, Ethel Salters, Susie Smith, Gwendolyn Williams, Joyce Williams, O’Neal Williams.

Baptist State Convention to dedicate new Colfax camp

The Louisiana Home & Foreign Missions Baptist State Convention will host a dedication service for its Fountain Pines Baptist Camp at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 17.

The camp is located at 200 Bagdad Loop Road in Colfax.

The Rev. Dr. J. Michael Sanders, pastor of Fountain Baptist Church of Summit, N.J., will be the speaker.

“We have been working with cleanup days, construction projects, planning and our walk of faith to get to this point,” said Dr. Samuel C. Tolbert, Convention president. “Please make plans to be a part of this historic and festive occasion.

The camp is a 25-acre tract of land with some 17 that include, a two-bedroom home for a resident camp director, office and classroom space, a large kitchen, a large general assembly area that will be used for worship and cafeteria, dormitories, storage building, infirmary, and recreational areas.

Having the camp, Tolbert said, allows the opportunity for the Convention to  provide youth summer camps and retreats, leadership training institutes, pastor retreats, and disaster response. The facility will also serve as the Convention’s headquarters.

11th annual Mark of the Carpenter drama to be presented

The Drama Ministry of St. Matthew Baptist Church will present the 11th annual spiritual drama, “Mark of the Carpenter.”

The drama will be presented at 6 p.m. March 26; 5 p.m. March 27; 4 p.m. March 28; and 5 p.m. April 3.

Admission is free.

Also, the church will present the “Seven Last Sayings of Christ,” at 7 nightly March 29 -April 2.

The speakers are:

  • Rev. Marcus Hines, Palm Sunday to the Cross, Monday, March 29.
  • Min. Joann cook-Harris, “Father, Forgive Them,” Tuesday, March 30.
  • Rev. Sherri L. Jackson, “Thou Shalt Be With Me in Paradise,” Tuesday March 30.
  • Rev. Sterling Terrell, “Woman, Behold Thou Son,” Wednesday, March 31.
  • Rev. Sharon R. Fields, “Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me,” Wednesday, March 31.
  • Rev. Phillip Jordan, “I Thirst,” Thursday, April 1.
  • Rev. Tracy R. Jones, “It is Finished,” Thursday, April 1.
  • Rev. Barbara Terrell, “Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit,” Friday, April 2

The church is located at 5605 Old Boyce Road, (I-49 N, Exit 94, Rapides Station)

Concert Supremes, Small Fire start Zion Hill’s Family & Friends celebration with a bang

Photos by Michael Bell

Zion Hill Church Family began its Family & Friends Day 2010 Friday, March 12 with night of entertainment with Gospel Comedienne “Small Fire” and The Concert Supremes.

The celebration continues Saturday, March 13,from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Buhlow Lake. Actvities will include volleyball, entertainment spotlight and a BBQ contest.

The theme is “There’s No Place Like Home”

Worship services will be at 8 a.m. , 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday, March 14. The

Mt. Zion Baptist church to host pre-anniversary service for Pastor Ameal Jones

The members of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, 11th 16th and Day St., Alexandria, will host a pre-anniversary service for Pastor Ameal Jones at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 14.

The speaker for the event will be Pastor Floyd A. Murray of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church of Moreauville, and Pleasant Green Baptist Church of Simmesport.

The Augustine Sisters and Family of Marksville will be the special singing group.

Dorris Sapp is president of the Pastor’s Support Ministry.