Our brothers and sisters in Christ from the 7th District Louisiana Missionary Baptist Association met tonight, June 3, at Sunlight Baptist in Lake Charles, for their annual convention. Pastor Robert Miller from First Lafayette and I attended.

The pastors of the churches in Opelousas and Port Barre that were burned in an act of domestic terrorism were present. One could feel the great respect the community it had for them and for President Freddie Jack. They have been through so much.

The patience they have, and the kindness and hospitality they showed us is a witness to the love of Christ.

7th District President Freddie Jack has provided a hand of steady leadership: “God can use the spade of sorrow to dig a well of joy.”

They began with celebration in the African American gospel tradition. One could not sit still to the music and expressions of joy. Many songs about God providing, come rain or shine.

Pastor A. L. Williams was a consummate host.

Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter brought greetings.

I have to admit, I was quite taken with this gentlemen’s incredible footwork. His feet played bass, and I never once saw him look at them.

There was a celebration of the Go Fund Me that raised $2.6M. Each of the three churches received a check for over $800,000.

Pastor Rob and I were invited forward. We expressed the love and concern of the Lutheran community and presented a check for an additional $20,000 from offerings and a gift from the ELCA Churchwide Organization.

The pastors whose 100-year-old churches were destroyed were recognized.

  • March 26, 2019 – St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, Louisiana. The Rev. Kyle Sylvester.
  • April 2, 2019 – Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, Louisiana. The Rev. Harry Richard.
  • April 4, 2019 – Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas, Louisiana. The Rev. Gerald Toussaint.

    The three pastors, Pastor Kyle Sylvester, Pastor Gerald Toussaint and Pastor Harry Richard:

    Tomorrow we will have a prayer vigil in which we will visit each of the church sites. Our prayers are with these congregations and their leaders, and for an end to racism and the heresy of white supremacy.