Not long after Katrina, Pastor Dennis Watson had the idea of calling together pastors of all denominations to work together for the rebuilding of this city. He started with a handful of the mega-church pastors and got them behind it. Thus was born the Pastors Coalition, a group of some 200 ministers of all stripes. Among other things, they sponsored the Billy/Franklin Graham Crusade in March, and they are co-sponsoring the Prayer Rally Tuesday night at the First Baptist Church.
Sunday, they took out a full page in the Times Picayune. At the bottom are the photos of most of the people on the Tuesday night program. Here is the ad.
“WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?”
One year ago, our lives were changed forever. Pulled from our homes and ripped from everything precious and dear, we struggled in a murky abyss seeking stability and solace. We discovered that the unknown was much bigger than the known.
A few days after the storm, a number of local ministers and pastors gathered to seek God’s face both for comfort and direction. They did not meet as Baptists, Charismatics, Methodists, Pentecostals, or by any denominational title. Nor did they meet as African-Americans, Asians, Caucasians, or Hispanics. They gathered as brothers and sisters and as servants who love this community.
Out of that gathering came an exceptional display of outreach, benevolence and aid, all delivered without the tethers of bureaucratic red tape. Swift acts of compassion and care were delivered through the channels of the institution equipped to do it best…the church! The church of Jesus Christ stepped forward and became the leaders in bringing help, hope and healing to the people of our city and region.
The challenges ahead are daunting indeed. There must be an unprecedented melding of government, business, education, community and church leaders if we are to experience a blessed and successful recoverey. The challenges indeed are great, but we are reminded that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
We have been given an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild, repair and restore. To rebuild our city and region into a better New Orleans, we must walk in wisdom, integrity and unity–addressing the challenge before us in ways different from the past.
As spiritual leaders of this region we stand united and we make the call…
TO GOVERNMENT LEADERS – Lead with honor and integrity, rejecting self-serving interests and the ‘business as usual’ approach embraced by leaders in the past. You are “God’s vessels” to serve the people.
TO CHURCH LEADERS – Walk in your calling, avoiding the petty, dishonest and unclean. As instruments of good news, let the Word ring forth: “What was intended for evil, God will turn into good” (Genesis 50:20).
TO THE MEDIA – Recognize the power of your words and the responsibility that comes with your privilege. Be truthful in your reporting, especially in recognizing the overwhelming service of the Christian community.
As brothers, co-workers and friends, we, the Greater New Orleans Pastors’ Coalition, call on the God of Creation and the God of all Comfort. We beseech His divine touch and loving favor. We pledge to Him that we will live and serve faithfully and humbly. We will focus on ministering to the hurting and helpless of our city, just as Jesus did throughout His ministry. We also pledge that we will continue praying for this community, for our leaders and for the challenges ahead. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.
THIS IS WHERE WE GO FROM HERE!
–We will move forward in wisdom and in faith.
–We will properly use our finances, influences, and labors, where needed, to facilitate in the rebuilding of this community.
–We will stand on the Word of God that has withstood every storm and test of time.
–We will reaffirm the words of the writer: “When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on his unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” (Edward Mote)
“He has shown you what is good, and what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)
JOIN US FOR A KATRINA ANNIVERSARY CITY-WIDE RALLY on August 29th at First Baptist Church New Orleans (5290 Canal Blvd) at 7:00 pm to worship, pray, and thank God for His goodness.
We will also be honoring ministries that have most contributed to our city’s relief and recovery.
(end of the full page article)
There are so many Katrina anniversary events going on, the Times-Picayune cannot keep track of them all. Even so, Sunday they published two full pages of listings. Here are a representative few…
Lots and lots of churches having prayer services and concerts.
The Kazanjian Foundation jewelry auction at Harrah’s Casino. Pieces to be sold include the tiara Madonna wore at her wedding to Guy Ritchie. Benefiting Wynton Marsalis’ Rebuild the Soul of American charitable trust.
Interviews, discussions, and book signings by the plethora of authors who’ve turned out Katrina books.
Emeril Lagasse hosts “Cooking with Music” at the Convention Center, an educational program for children. What this has to do with Katrina no one knows.
A lecture series at Xavier University, featuring experts speaking on “What Happened to the People?” and “What Happened to the Levees?” and “What Happened to the System?”
Early thanksgiving community picnic at Crescent City Farmer’s Market in Uptown Square in which storm survivors can count their blessings, get free massages, and record their histories for UNO’s Hurricane Archive.
A ceremonial bell ringing on the steps of City Hall, in which Mayor Nagin and others will bring bells to mark the time of the first levee breach (that would be 9:38 am). City council members will be laying wreaths at the Superdome and at various levees that broke.
Jazz funeral requiem march beginning at the Superdome and ending at Congo Square.
And my favorite…
The First Baptist Church of Gretna will hold a free dinner featuring MREs by candlelight at 6 pm. You’re invited. (Note to New Orleanians: This time you WILL be allowed to enter Gretna!)