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Communications and News

Sager Brown continues to serve the world during disasters

Sager Brown continues to serve the world during disasters
September 30, 2016

UMCOR Sager Brown Depot is nestled in the heart of “Cajun Country.” The international depot, located southeast of Lafayette, Louisiana in Baldwin, serves as a ministry of The United Methodist Church and a  key distribution site for relief items such as cleaning buckets, health kits and other supplies that are critical in the wake of disasters. Sager Brown got its start in 1867 when it ...

Taylor Swift Donates to Louisiana Annual Conference

Taylor Swift Donates to Louisiana Annual Conference
September 26, 2016

Taylor Swift continues to help the residents of Louisiana. The singer, songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee has made a generous donation to the Louisiana Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church to help with recovery and rebuild after last month’s historic flood. "We are delighted to receive this gift from Taylor Swift to aid our flood relief efforts. Taylor is a wonderful ...

Lydia Patterson students bring 'gift of hope' to Louisiana

Lydia Patterson students bring 'gift of hope' to Louisiana
September 22, 2016

The students of the Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso know what it means to face challenges—and to overcome them. Students of the school, a majority of whom live in Juarez, Mexico, leave their homes on week days as early as 4 a.m. to travel to “La Lydia,” as the school is affectionately known. They cross the bridge at the Mexico/United States border, and when they arrive at the ...

After Louisiana floods, Bibles bring comfort

After Louisiana floods, Bibles bring comfort
September 13, 2016

Three family Bibles were found in Stephanie Hope's flooded home in Louisiana.   Of all that I lost in the great flood of 2016 — pictures, recipes in my grandmother's handwriting, antique furniture I grew up with, vehicles, every wall and every floor, every single thing that was touched by seven feet of water in our home — I was struck by these three Bibles.   Our wedding Bible: It is the...

Foundation selects pastors for Leadership Class

Foundation selects pastors for Leadership Class
September 13, 2016

The United Methodist Foundation of Louisiana has selected four young Louisiana pastors to sponsor for the Advanced Pastoral Leadership program, a five-year training course designed to assist emerging clergy leaders in developing their potential for fruitful leadership.   Participants for APL were selected from among those who are ordained in the United Methodist Church, serving in the ...

Methodist connection seen throughout disaster response

Methodist connection seen throughout disaster response
September 13, 2016

Melissa Enis, youth director for Grace Community United Methodist in Shreveport, could hardly believe her eyes when she saw images of the historic flooding in South Louisiana.   “I had just sold my house in Central to move up to Shreveport. When I saw pictures of my old street sign, it was barely visible,” said Enis, who had recently served as youth director for Blackwater UMC in the ...

Local churches help sister congregation after floods

Local churches help sister congregation after floods
September 07, 2016

On Labor Day weekend, volunteers from First United Methodist Church in Covington and Hartzell Mt. Zion UMC in Slidell worked alongside their sister church, Mt. Zion UMC in Clinton, to gut and clean the flooded church.   Mt. Zion’s sanctuary and Fellowship Hall were hard hit by August floods that devastated South Louisiana. Volunteers moved damaged pews to get to the sanctuary carpet, ...

Louisiana Methodist Children's Home residents share 'Buckets of Hope'

Louisiana Methodist Children's Home residents share 'Buckets of Hope'
September 06, 2016

In the New Testament, Hebrews 6:19 reads, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”   That is why many of the cleaning buckets recently assembled for flood survivors by the youth of the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home in Ruston bear the image of an anchor, said Becca Deich, pastoral care assistant at the home.   The connection between these youth and the tens of...

Early Response Training in Louisiana

Early Response Training in Louisiana
August 31, 2016

Louisiana Early Response teams are “on the ground” across South Louisiana bringing personnel, equipment and supplies to areas affected by recent catastrophic flooding. “Trained volunteers are needed immediately for early response efforts,” said Rev. Bob Deich, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Ruston and coordinator of Early Response Teams for the Louisiana Conference. “Tasks ...

School's in session at Broadmoor UMC

School's in session at Broadmoor UMC
August 31, 2016

Broadmoor United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge knows what it means to fulfill the Louisiana Conference’s “vision and preferred future” by “engaging in local communities in significant ways.” Especially if the phrase goes on to read, “in significant and highly unique ways.” As of Wednesday of last week, grades 5-12 of Runnels School have been holding classes on Broadmoor UMC’s campus. ...

"Together, We Are Stronger"
August 29, 2016

On this, the 11th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I am reminded once again of the resilience of the people of Louisiana.  For many, these past two weeks have felt like a repeat of Katrina – the water, the mud, the smell, the traffic!  We are also reminded of the love of neighbor helping neighbor, stranger reaching out to stranger. These events, as awful as they are, seem to bring out...

Louisiana UMC pastor hails 'power of the connection'

Louisiana UMC pastor hails 'power of the connection'
August 29, 2016

Early in the morning on the Friday of the recent “big rain,” David Tidwell, community resource consultant for Cokesbury, was passing Deerford United Methodist Church in Zachary, La.   Moments later, the Rev. Susie Thomas, pastor of the small rural church, received a call from Tidwell. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but I just passed Deerford, and it looks like water is coming up behind the...

St. Andrew's UMC provides a 'shoulder to cry with'

St. Andrew's UMC provides a 'shoulder to cry with'
August 28, 2016

“Pray for each other, its important.” The Rev. Tom Howe, pastor of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, ends every written and spoken message with this request.   Although the need for prayer is always there, Rev. Howe and the members of his suburban church feel that need even more deeply in the wake of recent historic flooding that devastated South Louisiana. St. Andrew’...

'Faith of a mustard seed' fuels small church response efforts

'Faith of a mustard seed' fuels small church response efforts
August 26, 2016

Frequently, smaller churches feel that they are limited in what they can do to help people in need—like the thousands of folks whose lives have been deeply impacted by recent historic floods in South Louisiana. That is not the case with Mer Rouge United Methodist Church in rural North Louisiana, according to the church’s pastor, the Rev. JoAnne Pounds.   “Who could believe that a ...

Acadiana District churches hold 'Back to School Bash' at Sager Brown Depot

Acadiana District churches hold 'Back to School Bash' at Sager Brown Depot
August 26, 2016

It was Aug. 6, and although the weather forecast seemed dismal with a 60% chance of rain,  Methodists from all six United Methodist churches located between Franklin and Jeanerette came together for their first annual “Back to School Bash.”  Fortunately, the rain held off for this day of worship, family fun and food sponsored by Asbury, McGowan, St. Paul, St. Peter and Trinity UMCs, ...

When the desire to help outweighs everything

When the desire to help outweighs everything
August 26, 2016

Whether you speak to the church secretary, a youth volunteer or the senior pastor, the reaction is all the same, “We just love Ryan!”  It comes as no surprise Ryan Precourt would be hanging around Jefferson United Methodist Church. As Reverend Michi Head quickly points out, “He’s here every Sunday and he absolutely makes his presence known. After every song, he’s never afraid to ...

Reflection from Rev. Jay Hogewood

Reflection from Rev. Jay Hogewood
August 24, 2016

Below is a reflection from Rev. Jay Hogewood, pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, LA.  He shares an honest reflection of what it's like to pastor in the midst of the disaster in south Louisiana.    Saturday, hot as all get out, 2pm. Ready to shift from receiving and sheltering evacuees to moving them to longer, more stable housing - hotels, rental ...

First UMC, Baton Rouge finds small miracles in midst of tragedy

First UMC, Baton Rouge finds small miracles in midst of tragedy
August 23, 2016

When the flood waters began to rise in his Watson home just over a week ago, Justin Hutchinson, a member of First United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge, realized he was in trouble and that he needed to evacuate his home. His plan was to drive to safety in his car, but the water was rising so fast, Justin knew that the vehicle wouldn’t make it and that he would have to escape on foot ...

St. Luke's UMC 'hangs on tight' in wake of flooding

St. Luke's UMC 'hangs on tight' in wake of flooding
August 21, 2016

“Alright, resurrection people. We’re getting ready to worship God in a funeral home,” said the Rev. Ginny Allen, pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge. Members of the suburban Baton Rouge church were gathered Sunday morning in the chapel of the city’s Rabenhorst East Funeral Home because St. Luke’s sanctuary took on 28 inches of water during historic floods that ...

We Will Get Through This

We Will Get Through This
August 21, 2016

When you read the numbers, your eyes literally do a double take.  There are 137,000 residents in Livingston Parish and over 105,000 of those residents lost their homes. The devastation in the parish just east of Baton Rouge is unfathomable. "I don't think I've fully comprehended it. said an emotional Rev. Jackie King. "I've seen people arrive here to the church and say, 'I just spent ...

One Week Later

One Week Later
August 20, 2016

It is Saturday, August 20th and it is raining...again.  It was about this time last week when the rain just wouldn't quit.  “Rain, rain, go away, come back another day.”  But it was not to be.  In two days, we received 6,000,000,000,000 gallons of water– yes, SIX. TRILLION. GALLONS of water; enough to fill 6,000,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  There has been little “normal.”  School ...

Davis is new Disaster Response Director

Davis is new Disaster Response Director
August 19, 2016

Debra T. Davis, Ph.D., is serving the Louisiana Conference as the new Disaster Response Director. In this critical role, Davis is responsible for coordination of the overall response to the spring floods and the August 2016 floods that devastated Louisiana.     Davis will develop a structure within the conference for responding to disasters, building a model for this event that can be ...

Video highlights devastation from historic flooding in Louisiana

Video highlights devastation from historic flooding in Louisiana
August 18, 2016

The images tell the story. Louisiana is devastated . . . but hope remains. See this brief video which shows dramatic images that tell the story of the impact of recent flooding, rescue efforts and the tremendous need that exists! Please consider giving to the disaster relief efforts in Louisiana!

How To Help

How To Help
August 15, 2016

The flooding in south Louisiana continues as residents in Ascension Parish are now experiencing similar backwater flooding that residents in Livingston and East Baton Rouge Parish experienced Sunday.  Thousands of rescue operations are ongoing and our prayers remain for those stranded and for those involved in rescue operations. Many of you are exploring ways to help.  The most ...

"Continue To Pray..."
August 13, 2016

Greetings church. My prayers continue for the ravaged areas of south Louisiana as we deal with historic flooding and what is sure to be a long-term recovery. While the storm is thankfully weakening in Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Lake Charles are now bracing for flash flood advisories. For everyone in the affected areas, stay alert to advisories, check on your neighbors and pray ...

Facebook LIVE Tips

Facebook LIVE Tips
August 13, 2016

With historic flooding in south Louisiana, some churches will not be able to gather for worship. Facebook LIVE is a great option to gather as a community and pray, albeit electronically. Prior to deploying a Facebook LIVE, there are some key things to remember. The Louisiana Annual Conference Office of Communication Strategy wanted to share some tips.   1. Start publicizing the event ...

Historic Flooding in South Louisiana

Historic Flooding in South Louisiana
August 12, 2016

Historic flooding has ravaged south Louisiana. The rain began late Thursday and refused to let up, dumping over 12 inches in as little as 8 hours. In some locations, rain totals exceeded 15 inches and was tropical in nature as it stalled out over the greater Baton Rouge area. In fact, local forecasters quickly pointed out; had this system been over open water, it would have likely ...

Back To School, Back To Community

Back To School, Back To Community
August 09, 2016

Over the next few weeks, we will shift into a new rhythm. Earlier wake up calls, rushed carpools, late nights of homework, high stakes testing, followed by even more homework. It's time to head back to school! As we do, I wanted to take a moment and offer prayers of support, hope and encouragement for our students, teachers, staff members and parents, all of whom play a vital role in ...

Teddy bear ministry shares smiles and hope with hospitalized children

Teddy bear ministry shares smiles and hope with hospitalized children
August 03, 2016

Rev. Davis Clark, pastor of Warren United Methodist Church in Lake Charles, hopes that his church’s new teddy bear ministry will meet its goal of sending the stuffed animals to each Lake Charles area hospital with a pediatric unit by the end of 2016.   In addition, Warren UMC hopes to expand the ministry by serving hospitals all throughout the state by 2018.   In a July 26 article in the...

St. Francisville UMC helps local school during 'Servant Saturday'

St. Francisville UMC helps local school during 'Servant Saturday'
July 31, 2016

Nearly 20 members of St. Francisville United Methodist Church recently gathered early in the morning on the campus of West Feliciana Parish High School. Their purpose? To engage in the community in a significant way through “Servant Saturday,” a hands-on service project held quarterly by the church.   For the past five years, Servant Saturdays have included cleaning church property in ...

Spirit Church in New Orleans' 7th Ward offers line dance lessons in its 'canvas cathedral'

Spirit Church in New Orleans' 7th Ward offers line dance lessons in its 'canvas cathedral'
July 26, 2016

Residents of New Orleans’ 7th Ward recently received free line dancing classes with a well-known local instructor, “DJ Gravy,” thanks to an outreach program of The Spirit Church, a ministry of the Louisiana Annual Conference. Classes were held every Monday evening during the month of July, providing area residents the opportunity to get a great work out while gathering for fellowship ...

Gretna UMC hosts open conversation on relations between police and community

Gretna UMC hosts open conversation on relations between police and community
July 25, 2016

The call was simple; gather together and talk. It’s exactly what happened at Gretna United Methodist Church as members, pastors and police gathered to discuss the recent string of violent incidents involving police and the community.  Rev. Bertrand Griffin II called it an open conversation on “how we can stand together.”  One by one, concerns were expressed as members of the ...

New Life Community Church hosts Pokemon refreshment break on church grounds

New Life Community Church hosts Pokemon refreshment break on church grounds
July 23, 2016

As part of their continued effort to engage with the community and draw in people from all walks of life, New Life Community Church, the joint ministry of Luling United Methodist and First Union Presbyterian, recently hosted a “Pokémon Refreshment Break” on church grounds to invite and welcome folks from around the community who have been playing Pokémon Go, the newest game craze that ...

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey shares message of prayer and action during TV interview

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey shares message of prayer and action during TV interview
July 21, 2016

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey shared a message of prayer, hope and action during an interview with John Pastorek on WBRZ-TV's 2une In program the morning of July 21. She was "thrilled to share the news of hope in Baton Rouge." Bishop Harvey stressed that although prayer is essential, the people of the Baton Rouge community must now put "legs" to those prayers and work actively for unity,...

Louisiana Conference holds prayer vigil in Baton Rouge for fallen police officers

Louisiana Conference holds prayer vigil in Baton Rouge for fallen police officers
July 21, 2016

For the second time in two weeks, more than 200 Baton Rouge residents joined nearly 40 Methodist pastors to pray for the city--and this time, to mourn the death of three law enforcement officers who were gunned down Sunday.    District Superintendent Rev. Ken Irby had a previously scheduled meeting Tuesday to follow up on the Alton Sterling shooting that gripped the city during the first...

Baton Rouge clergy gather in wake of fatal shooting of police officers

Baton Rouge clergy gather in wake of fatal shooting of police officers
July 19, 2016

District Superintendent Rev. Ken Irby had Tuesday, July 19 on the schedule as a follow-up for Baton Rouge clergy to gather and discuss the next steps in the wake of the Alton Sterling shooting. However, in the two weeks since, the city finds itself in the midst of yet another horrific act of violence.    On Sunday, Gavin Long, a former Marine from Kansas City, Missouri, walked down ...

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey issues statement regarding Baton Rouge shooting

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey issues statement regarding Baton Rouge shooting
July 17, 2016

Friends, My heart is broken yet again! There are simply no words. What does one say when people's lives have been turned upside down? We continue to cry for peace, peace in our city, our country and the world. We need healing.  As I board my flight leaving Wichita and Jurisdictional Conference, I am following the news from my beloved Baton Rouge. Several police officers dead and some ...

Statement from the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops

Statement from the South Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops
July 17, 2016

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: While these can be turbulent times in The United Methodist Church, these are also times of emerging and fruitful ministries. Lay and clergy leaders are creating new ministries to reach new people for Jesus Christ. They remind us of the importance of our collective work to grow the number of vital congregations of The United ...

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey reassigned to Louisiana Annual Conference

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey reassigned to Louisiana Annual Conference
July 16, 2016

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey is returning to the Louisiana Annual Conference. Friday evening at the South Central Jurisdictional Conference, the Episcopacy committee announced the appointments for all 10 Bishops serving the jurisdiction.    “I am thrilled!” Bishop Harvey exclaimed. The Episcopal leader for the Louisiana area is pictured left at a breakfast with the conference delegation ...

Three bishops elected during SCJ Conference in Wichita

Three bishops elected during SCJ Conference in Wichita
July 16, 2016

The South Central Jurisdiction elected three new bishops during its quadrennial conference, which began Wednesday at the Hyatt Hotel in Wichita, Kansas.   Newly elected bishops and their appointments include Ruben Saenz, Jr., heading to the Great Plains Conference; James “Jimmy” Nunn, going to the Oklahoma/Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conferences; and Bob Farr, returning to the Missouri ...

Baton Rouge youth organize peaceful rally in wake of deadly shooting, Wesley UMC offers support

Baton Rouge youth organize peaceful rally in wake of deadly shooting, Wesley UMC offers support
July 11, 2016

One week ago on July 6, Alton Sterling, a black man, was shot to death by two white police officers in Baton Rouge, La.    Led by Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, United Methodist church leaders immediately came together to collaborate on how they could quickly respond to the tragic incident with a message focusing on peace and justice. The answer was clear, and leaders organized a prayer ...

Gathering seeks effective ways to engage young people in dialogue about racism

Gathering seeks effective ways to engage young people in dialogue about racism
July 11, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. July 11, 2016 /Discipleship Ministries/ – As recent events once again focus attention on issues of racial inequality, Young People’s Ministries (YPM), a division of Discipleship Ministries, will convene a session this month to identify more effective ways to resource the church for conversations with young people about racism.   The Racism Gathering on July 28-30 will ...

Louisiana Conference hosts downtown prayer vigil in wake of Baton Rouge shooting

Louisiana Conference hosts downtown prayer vigil in wake of Baton Rouge shooting
July 08, 2016

On Wednesday, July 6, in the wake of Alton Sterling’s death, more than 30 United Methodist pastors from the Baton Rouge area gathered for a rare meeting at the Conference office. The meeting was rare not in the sense that black and white pastors of small and large churches met, but rather because the meeting had no agenda.   District Superintendent Ken Irby started the meeting with a ...

Africa University student thanks Louisiana Conference for scholarship assistance

Africa University student thanks Louisiana Conference for scholarship assistance
July 04, 2016

The following is a letter which was received by the Louisiana Conference Episcopal office from Rumbidzai Sithole, a graduating senior from Africa University. In the letter, Sithole thanks the conference for the scholarship awarded to her. The Louisiana Conference has a history of supporting this institution of higher learning on the African continent and the students attending classes ...

First UMC, Zachary sends LAVIM mission team to Rio Bravo, Mexico

First UMC, Zachary sends LAVIM mission team to Rio Bravo, Mexico
July 04, 2016

Rev. Ricky Willis, pastor of First UMC in Zachary, recently led a LAVIM mission team of 22 people to Rio Bravo, Mexico. The group worked with the Manos Juntas Mission and Mexico VIM; this was the first international mission team for the church.   The team also included four people from Aldersgate UMC, Slidell and one person from Blackwater UMC in Baker. The group was comprised of a ...

School backpack drive for Reynosa is in July

School backpack drive for Reynosa is in July
June 28, 2016

Local churches and groups throughout the Louisiana Annual Conference are asked to help students in Reynosa, Mexico by donating backpacks and school supplies during the month of July. The school backpack program is an initiative of the Methodist Border Friendship Commission.   Rev. Willie Berman, the Mexican Methodist Border Mission coordinator and Global Ministries missionary, will ...

First UMC, Baton Rouge offers spiritual formation leadership academy/Deadline for applications is Aug. 1

First UMC, Baton Rouge offers spiritual formation leadership academy/Deadline for applications is Aug. 1
June 23, 2016

First United Methodist of Baton Rouge, in partnership with Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, is offering NextStep Academy, a two year program in spiritual formation leadership.   Those looking for the means to invigorate their spiritual practices or who are interested in deepening their understanding of the disciplines are invited to apply for this unique program, which can be ...

‘NEXT’ empowers collegians to combine faith, gifts and passions to enact change/Early Bird registration ends June 30

‘NEXT’ empowers collegians to combine faith, gifts and passions to enact change/Early Bird registration ends June 30
June 21, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While pursuing a field of study to help prepare for a traditional career, many of today’s college students are searching for ways to combine their faith, gifts and passions to make an immediate impact in their communities. However, as students pursue this call, they may find limited resources to support them in their faith and leadership development.   Created out of ...

‘Sewing with God’ sows seed of hope

‘Sewing with God’ sows seed of hope
June 15, 2016

By Rev. Billy Turner “Sewing with God,” a ministry of First United Methodist Church in Coushatta, began in 2010 as an outgrowth of a bible study on Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley, the author of the Methodist denomination. Susan Taylor, one of the participants in the study and the leader of the sewing program, said Wesley encouraged Methodists to help the needy and underserved ...

Behind the Scenes: AC2016: Rooted and Grounded

Behind the Scenes: AC2016: Rooted and Grounded
June 15, 2016

As I reflect on last week’s Annual Conference, I am overwhelmed by the Spirit’s stirring among us. The new rhythm, I believe, allowed for more time in conversation with colleagues and friends. The blessing of David and Elizabeth McCormick and their daughters as they prepare their hearts, minds and souls to serve in Mozambique as missionaries was a highlight. As always, the services of ...

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