Jeff Box has resigned as pastor of Suburban Baptist Church in New Orleans East to move to a church in Walton County, Georgia in the Atlanta suburbs. He writes, “We have been a part of one of God’s miracles here at Suburban. We leave at a time when the church is physically more beautiful than ever. We leave at a time when the potential for community growth and outreach is as bright as when the church was first planted almost half a century ago. We leave with no enemies and with no animosity. In fact, we can truly say that we love everyone at Suburban and are sure that they love us as well.”
Jeff writes that when he came to this church four years ago, God made it clear that his work would be that of a transitional pastor. The plan now is for Jeff’s co-pastor, Jeffery Friend, to become the sole pastor of the church. Readers may recall that prior to Katrina, Friend pastored Hopeview Church in St. Bernard Parish, which took on great depths of water and oil and whose building is now housing volunteers working in that struggling and sparsely populated parish. Friend moved into New Orleans with the members of his congregation he could locate, and they began worshiping with the mostly-Anglo Suburban Baptist Church. My impression is that in recent months, the congregation has become predominantly African-American as the community was, is, and shall be. Therefore, this is a natural and positive development for Brother Friend to assume the leadership. He’s a fine man and we wish him and Suburban well.
New Orleans needs more psych beds, the mayor says. The lead paragraph in a front-page article reads:”Frustrated with the volume of mental patients being thrust upon local police departments and emergency rooms, Mayor Ray Nagin on Monday sent a letter to the governor demanding that the state restore psychiatric beds that were lost when Charity Hospital closed because of Hurricane Katrina.”
On Monday, 191 students graduated from Warren Easton Senior High School in New Orleans, the first complete year together for this group since Katrina. Sitting in the audience were actress Sandra Bullock and her husband Jesse James. Bullock had donated $100,000 to the school to purchase band uniforms and surprised the students by showing up for their graduation. She told the teens, “You are the miracle that came out of this.”
(A little name-dropping here. I don’t recall meeting Sandra Bullock, but she was at a wedding I performed some years back. Her godmother–Dr. Ann McAllister–was a member of our church in Mississippi, and was marrying John Mitchell, a terrific Methodist gentleman and banker in Starkville. Ann ran a travel agency for years and handled all of Sandra’s travel arrangements. They’re good people.)