Faith Baptist Church gets their own building!
This wonderful small congregation was formed five or six years ago by a group of members of First Baptist-New Orleans when the mother congregation voted to move from St. Charles Avenue out to the Lakeview section. The “Faith” group felt someone should maintain a ministry in the uptown section of New Orleans.
The church has not had a permanent location or a permanent pastor all this time. For a long time, they shared space with the First Presbyterian of New Orleans, and since Katrina, they’ve met at Rayne United Methodist Church on St. Charles. They’ve had excellent interim pastors, including Roger Sullivan, Argile Smith, and for the past 3 years or so, Tim Searcy.
Friday, Faith’s leaders met at the lawyer’s office in downtown New Orleans to sign the papers and make official the purchase of the property at South Claiborne Street and Fern which was formerly the Second Church of Christ, Scientist. That congregation, which had dwindled to 25 prior to Katrina, never reassembled afterwards due to the damage on their buildings and the resettlement of their members.
I was present for the signing, just to share their joy.
Faith will be renovating the sanctuary and educational building before moving in, but they are elated and we are for them. That neighborhood would be jumping for joy, too, if they knew how the Lord has just blessed them with these new neighbors.
The Baptist Crossroads Foundation Board held its annual meeting Saturday morning.
No matter what part of the U.S. you live in, you’ve probably seen on television or in print the homes that are being built by the Baptist Crossroads. The houses all have the same architecture and are multi-colored in some vividly bright hues. Pastor David Crosby heard a volunteer say he was working “down at Skittles-Land!”
Pastor Fred Luter and I were the only two non-First Baptist Church boardmembers present. Looking around the church’s youth room where we were meeting, I noticed two lawyers, a banker, an educator, and several businessmen. One businesswoman. I told them I wanted to make an observation.
“I’ve been in a lot of churches and have pastored seven congregations. But I have never seen a group of church members get behind the vision of the pastor–and that’s what you have done–and bring it to reality the way you folks have done. It is most impressive and I’d just like to say to you, ‘Well done.’ The Lord is honored by what you are doing. Each one of you brings certain gifts and expertise to this ministry.”
A couple of people said, “You should have been in church the day David presented the vision to the congregation. You knew immediately that this was of God. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It has been a privilege.”
The church group (we can call it the Baptist Crossroads “Board”, but let’s face it–it’s a ministry of the First Baptist Church of New Orleans) has taken into their hearts not only the charge to build new homes in this 70 block area, but to do all in its power to help in the rebuilding of other homes and the rebirth of the people who live there. We’re glad to know that Pastor Fred Luter’s Franklin Avenue Baptist Church is also helping minister to the residents.
Board members were presented with maps–aerial photos actually–of the assigned area, with symbols to indicate which homes are gutted, which have had no activity of rebuilding of any kind since Katrina, and which are in good shape. With slightly more than 2,000 homes on the map, nearly one-fourth have had no rebuilding/renovation activity at all since Katrina.
Without the work of the Baptist Crossroads in the Ninth Ward, it would still be a most depressed section of New Orleans. As it is, there is hope and excitement.
One of the most impressive things I heard today had to do with the financial aspect of the Baptist Crossroads. Not that I understood it all. Just listening to our financial people outlining the details brought back why I made a ‘C’ on Economics 201 as a sophomore at Birmingham-Southern College over 45 years ago! This subject is most definitely not for us right-brained people!