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THE CATHEDRAL ON THE BAYOU
The formal opening service of the new church took place at 11 a.m. on April 1, 1956 ... which was Easter Sunday. The bulletin included a three page history of the Houma church, the order of worship, the contributors of the various memorials, and miscellaneous notes. Speakers that day included Rev. Sam Nader, Dr. R.R. Branton (Lafayette District Superintendent), Dr. Edward W. Harris (Baton Rouge District Superintendent), and Bishop Paul E. Martin. Dr. Albert Hurley and Rev. Franklin McCoy, former pastors of the church, were also there.
In the guest book, Bishop Martin wrote that this church was made possible by "inspired leadership and the cooperation of dovoted and consecrated church members." Rev. Branton wrote that it was "a great day in the life of this church." Rev. Harris wrote that it was "a labour of love - complete in every detail - truly glorifying the name of God."
The new church seated 465 people; 340 in the sanctuary, 88 in the balcony, and 37 in the choir. The sanctuary ceiling reaches 36 feet into the air. The walls are of St. Joe sand brick made in Slidell. The pews and other furniture in the sanctuary are made of white Appalachian oak. The Fellowship Hall can seat 240 for a meeting and 170 for a banquet. The copper steeple reaches a height of 105 feet. A statue of Christ, titled "Come Unto Me" is above the front doors. The statue was made in Dallas especially for this church. Some members of the church didn't like the idea of having the statue, but Rev. Nader talked them into it. A round stained glass window above the altar depicts Christ in prayer. This window and the ten large (24 feet tall) windows along the sides of the church were ordered from Judson Studios in California. The brass and aluminum cross above the altar was made in Dallas. The altar is made of Italian marble. The educational building has ten classrooms that can accomodate 450 students. It is made of Colonial sand mould brick, trimmed with buff Indiana limestone. The style of the church is a blend of Colonial and Georgian. The architect was J. Murrell Bennett of Dallas, Texas. The projected cost of the new church was originally $250,000. It eventually cost about $400,000 ... $323,000 for the building and the rest for furnishings.
An Open House was held later that day from 3 to 5 in the afternoon and 8 to 10 that night. A Vesper Communion Service was held at 7 that evening.
It was announced that the church would try to pay off the bills in three years. "Debt free by '59" was the motto. Although the intentions were good, it would take them nine years to actually pay off the debt.
The completion of the church meant the departure of Rev. Nader. He left after accomplishing a great deal. He came here to get a job done, and he did it. But when he left, he passed down a bundle of bills to his successor. Rev. Nader and his wife recently retired and live in Lubbock, Texas.
Dr. Benedict Galloway: 1956-1960
The bishop replaced Rev. Nader in 1956 with Rev. Benedict Galloway. Rev. Nader had gotten the church built and left for Lake Charles. Now Rev. Galloway would have to make sure it was paid for. Following a popular preacher is always rough. Rev. Galloway may have felt pressured to follow in Sam Nader's footsteps. As his wife, Eloise, told him ... he should just be himself, don't try to be Sam. Rev. Galloway was more formal and serious than Rev. Nader, though he had his lighter side. He even taught square dancing at the church, much to the dismay of some of the older members. Though he wasn't as outgoing as Nader and it took a lot to make him laugh, everyone seemed to like Rev. Galloway and his wife. He was also an educated man who was very methodical. His sermons had that intellectual edge that Rev. Hurley had brought to Houma; and sometimes they ran a bit long. As one member, Duck Marcel, would say ... he delivered the "full load" on some days. Some still remember the food fundraisers held by the women in the church. Like Rev. Tarver, it seems that Rev. Galloway was fond of our French cooking and put on a few pounds. He also liked to play golf.
Rev. Galloway was married in 1941 to Eloise Holt. They have two daughters. Eloise was our first preacher's wife to have a college degree, having received a bachelors degree in social studies at NSU in 1955. She helped Benedict in his pastorates by teaching Sunday School, working as youth counselor, working with the women's societies, and doing all of the other tasks a minister's wife is supposed to do. They now live in Shreveport, Louisiana.
At each of his first three pastorates, Rev. Galloway was involved in building new sanctuaries and educational buildings. Upon arriving in Houma, he found the building done, but the bills unpaid.
When Rev. Galloway arrived, he had to immediately come up with $50,000 to pay a past due bank note. The contractor and church builder had gone bankrupt. Besides this, money was needed for the next note and to maintain regular church operations. Aided by the laity, Rev. Galloway got it done. Fortunately, this was in the dawn of the oil age and money was flowing. In his first year, the chimes were bought, the sanctuary carpeting was laid down, and the parsonage was renovated. The membership of the church went from 710 to 809 during Rev. Galloway's tenure. The Sunday School increased from 367 to 680 by 1960. The typical attendance at the morning services was about 150 for the first service and 130 for the second service. The evening service also averaged about 150. Sunday School attendance was a little over 300.
To illustrate the church finances at that time, the church budget for 1957-58 was $72,565. The budget had increased ten-fold over the budget of ten years ago. Of course, over $35,000 went to pay off the building and furniture notes. The pastor's salary had risen to $8,100. The conference askings were now close to $5,000. The staff had increased to include a secretary ($2,100), janitors ($3,220), and choir directors ($440).
Annual Spiritual Life Missions were held. These were revivals that brought in preachers from elsewhere in the state to lead services from Sunday through Friday. Morning devotions were broadcast on KCIL. Vacation Bible School was still being held. Bible studies were held on Wednesday nights.
Family Nights were held on Friday nights. Members would get together for a meal and entertainment. This practice was revived under the pastorship of Rev. Bowdon years later.
The youth choir was named the Herald Choir. One of the directors of the choir at this time was Gayle Hanna.
Mrs. Patterson gave the Patterson Memorial Class a set of the Interpreter's Bible reference books. They can still be found in the church library.
Among the church organists from the 50's to the 60's were Mrs. Patterson, Mrs. Clyde Martin, Mrs. Norman Smith, Mrs. Albert Lloyd, Miss Evelyn Martin, Mrs. T.H. Richards, Miss Gayle Hanna, Miss Julia Anding, Richard Whitten, and Allie Goodson. Among the choir directors were H.F. Lane, Mrs. J.L. Davis, Miss Jacquelyn Cocke, Mrs. H.B. Watson, Jr., Mrs. M.H. Rigsby, and Mrs. W.M. Carnicom.
A letter sent out informing the congregation of Pledge Sunday noted that an important consideration for the next year will be an Educational Director. The matter had been brought up for several years, but no action had been taken as of yet. It would be over thirty years before our church would get an Educational Director.
A Dedication Service for the church memorials was held on April 24, 1960. Some of the memorials listed were as follows.
Fellowship Hall by Mr./Mrs. Charles Patterson, Sr.
Steeple by Mr./Mrs. Charles Patterson, Sr.
Balcony by the George Augustat Family
Parlor by Mr./Mrs. Wade W. Scott
Arcade by the C.E. Bridges Family
Rose Window by the Brunette Family in memory of
Mr./Mrs. C.A. Brunette
Altar by George K. Ferguson in memory of
Charles Patterson, Sr.
Pulpit by Helen Smith in memory of
Mr./Mrs. C.P. Smith
Christ Statuary by Mr. R.B. Edmonson in honor of
Foyer by the Thatcher Family in memory of
the late J.H. Thatcher, Sr.
Portico by the Marcel Family in memory of
the late Mr./Mrs. Freddie Marcel
Offering Plates by Friends in memory of the late
& Candleabras Charles Patterson, Sr.
Dr. Henry A. Rickey: 1960-1963
Rev. Galloway was replaced by Rev. Henry A. Rickey in 1960. They actually "switched" places. Rev. Galloway became the District Superintendent of the New Orleans District, which had been previously held by Rev. Rickey.
Rev. Rickey was born in Jacksonville, Alabama on February 18, 1908. His father, a couple of uncles, and a great-grandfather were all Methodist ministers. The Methodist Church was in his blood.
He was an intelligent man ... "one of the brightest minds in the conference" some would say. He was an incisive man of keen convictions.
Rev. Rickey married Nell Honeycutt on June 18, 1934. They had two children. Rev. Rickey and his wife enjoyed socializing, but she never seemed to fit in as the preacher's wife. She was completely different than her predecessor, Eloise Galloway. Nell was known as a fragile woman. She was a red head who used to be a dancer. She stood by her husband, but never really got involved in church activities. This perhaps caused some animosity with the old members of the church. Traditionally, the preacher's wife had always helped with the church activities.
He served around the state, but spent a good bit of his ministry in the New Orleans area. He retired in 1975 and moved to Shreveport. He was killed in an automobile accident on November 6, 1976 as he was on his way to get plants for his garden.
Rev. Rickey had a tendency to add people to the rolls after just one visit with them. He didn't do much visiting himself; that was left for Larry Robertson to do. He put a lot of members on the roll that way.
He was often commenting on how ugly he was. He claimed to be a member of the Ugly Club. Rev. Rickey loved to sing. He would even have songs pasted in the hymnal if he wanted to sing them and they weren't in the hymnal.
He was honored in 1961 when Centenary College presented him with a Doctor of Divinity degree.
Rev. Rickey didn't have a good relationship with the Pastor-Parish Relations committee. In fact, his departure was a forced one. He fell into the same category as did Rev. Hardy ... the pastor and the congregation weren't a good combination.
Houma got its first associate pastor in 1961. Rev. Larry D. Robertson served Houma for two years under Rev. Rickey and one year under Rev. Douglas. "Little Larry," as some called him,came here right out of seminary. His two children were born here in Houma. Some days you could walk into his office and his baby would be sitting in the desk drawer. He worked with the youth and visited people in their homes. He would usually preach the Sunday night services.
A typical Sunday evening at this time included Senior MYF Council at 4 p.m., MYF at 5:30 p.m., youth choir rehearsal at 6:30 p.m., and evening worship at 7 p.m. The evening worship consisted of four hymns, a prayer, offeratory, an anthem, and a sermon by Rev. Robertson. It ended with altar prayer.
The membership of First Church of Houma for the past year was 938. The average attendance was 310. There were 15 tithers in the church. We still owed $48,650 on the church. There were still two morning services. The Herald Choir sang at the first service and the Chancel Choir sang at the second. W.S.C.S. Circles at this time included: Goodwill, Mary-Martha, Fidelity, Liberty, and Friendship. The MYF was divided into three sections, Jr., Intermediate, and Sr. In January 1961, church membership was divided into neighborhood zones. Family night dinners were held.
A "Battle of the Bayou" was held in 1961. Rev. Rickey said he could win 100 new members during the year and challenged the church's Commission of Membership and Evangelism to do likewise.
Revivals were still being held all around the conference. Bishop Walton had led one at our church in 1961. Dr. Rickey led a revival in Natchioches in 1963.
One was conducted at Houma from March 31 through April 5 of 1963, with a prayer vigil held March 29-30. Services were led by Rev. C.W. Quaid of Lake Charles. Mrs. Patterson played the organ and Dr. Rickey led the singing. A different group from the church was to fill the pews each night.
The membership at Houma Heights in 1960 was 135. Rev. Ira M. Robinson left and was replaced by Rev. Collins D. Pinkard. Bayou Blue had 134 members and Dulac had 126 members.
Charles Crenshaw graduated from Terrebonne High at this time and planned to become a Methodist minister. He gave a sermon in April before leaving for Centenary College.
We were still holding quarterly conferences at this time. The spring conference for 1963 was conducted by the District Superintendent, Rev. Jerome Cain. He also preached the message.
Dr. Luman Douglas: 1963-1966
Rev. Luman Douglas replaced Rev. Rickey in 1963. Although his eyes were failing, people remember that he preached a good message and delivered it well. He didn't really want to come here, though. He was very business-like, but he had nervous problems. He couldn't relate to the board members. Still, members remember how he used to pass out sticks of gum to the children. He was also the one that came up with the idea of a "flower calender" to help Mrs. Kelly to arrange the flowers on the altar.
Donald Autrey came to Houma as an associate pastor while Rev. Douglas was here. Like Robertson, he came here right out of seminary. It seems that the relationship between him and Rev. Douglas didn't work out. He stayed here only one year.
Rev. Luman E. Douglas was born in Bienville, Louisiana on May 11, 1910. He was licensed to preach in 1926. While attending SMU, he met and married Mary Eleanor Kiker on Decemer 28, 1932. He came back to Louisiana in 1935. He served in southern Louisiana.
He was honored with a Doctor of Divinity Degree from his Alma Mater, Taylor University, in 1965.
Rev. Douglas loved the Methodist Church. He brought integrity and dedication to his work. It was said that whatever he did, he did well. He served in a number of positions in various branches of the church. When he had retired and his sight was failing, he could recognize his "brethren" by the sound of their voice.
Rev. Douglas passed away on September 12, 1985.
A dedication service was held at 11 a.m. on November 28, 1965. Among those in the service were Bishop Aubrey G. Walton, Rev. Luman E. Douglas, Rev. Jerome Cain, Dr. B. Joseph Martin, Dr. Henry A. Rickey, and Dr. Benedict A. Galloway. The congregation was able to sit on pew cushions. These had been bought with money from a fund started by the late J.F. Lane and the Pattersons. A catered dinner on the grounds followed the service. It was paid for by members of the church. The mortgage for the "new" church was finally paid off and the mortgage was burnt on November 28, 1965.
The average attendance at morning worship services was 347 in 1965. Of the 533 on the Sunday School rolls, 314 was the average attendance.
Rev. A. Jerome Cain: 1966-1976
Rev. A. Jerome Cain was appointed to Houma in 1966. He was assisted in his ministry by his wife, Elsie. The Cains' ministry was really a team effort. Rev. Cain, like Rev. Rickey, joked about being a member of the Ugly Club. He got along with most people. Rev. Cain started the church's ecumenical push. He also started the work towards the Activity Building. The first church bus was acquired at this time. Rev. Cain was selected as Houma's Most Useful Citizen in 1974, our only pastor to receive this honor.
The church borrowed $8,500 in 1966 to pave the church parking lot and to build a garage for the parsonage. The church note had just been paid off the previous year.
About the same time, the church was saddened to lose Calvin Hebert, Jr. He died after injuries received in a helicopter crash during the Vietnam War. Calvin was the only member of our church to die in the Vietnam War.
In November of 1967, a group of older adults met to form a senior citizens' club. About 20 people attended that first meeting. After a contest, the name picked by Mrs. Ida Andruss was selected ... Was Young Once (WYO). When she was working on a household task, she had been said to herself, "I used to be able to do this. I was young once." So the name of the group was born. One of the other names submitted was "The Antiques."
In 1969, the Wesley Methodist Church on Canal Street was forced to tear down the church building. It had stood on the corner since 1889, but had deteriorated through the years. Hurricane Betsy finally created some unrepairable damages. Since there were only 32 members in 1969, the Rev. Henry Gage asked for help in building a new church. The new church, costing $20,000, was built with money raised by the congregation as well as contributions from other Methodist churches. First Church of Houma gave over $1000. Two years later, the Negro and white conferences of the United Methodist Church of Louisiana approved of a merger.
A called charge conference was held after the 11:00 service on November 16, 1969. The decision was made to buy the remainder of the eastern portion of block 29. Mrs. Minty Toups had obtained the property between the church and parsonage from her father, Henry Berger. She was paid $25,000 for the lot and the house. The house was used for Sunday School classes for a while, but was moved so that the area could be used for parking. Her garage was converted into a meeting room for the youth. It was called the Youth Hut.
The property was bought with the intention of building an activity building. Several versions of the building were considered, though most were similar. It was to consist of a large gym, several meeting rooms, and a kitchen. Mrs. Cain was a strong supporter of this building, although some members objected to a major building project. After all, the church note was paid off less than five years before and the parking lot/garage note was paid off earlier in 1969.
Ricky Hebert graduated from Centenary College in 1969. During the summers in 1968 and 1969, he helped out as a summer worker at church. He later became an ordained Methodist minister in the Louisiana Conference.
By 1970, the church membership was 1171 people. There was an average attendance of 256 at Sunday School out of a membership of 440. The 11:00 Services were being broadcast over the radio on KJIN occasionally.
Youth began attending Camp Brewer during the summer. They would attend for a week with youth from other Louisiana Methodist churches. Later on, the youth began going to Caney Lake in north Louisiana for the summer trip. At Caney Lake, the entire camp was rented for our youth group. When Rev. Cain left, these trips stopped.
Due to the merger in 1968, the W.S.C.S. became the United Methodist Women in 1973.
One of the biggest youth trips ever taken was when the Senior High UMY went to Singing River Ranch in Colorado. Six adults, including the Cains, and thirty-one youth made the trip in "Old Blue." Old Blue was bought for $350 and made many trips during its "lifetime." After travelling for over 3,000 miles, the group made it safely home from Colorado.
The church had a scare shortly after, when Rev. Cain was hospitalized. Rev. Hurley filled in for him in our pulpit. Thankfully, Rev. Cain made a full recovery and was preaching again after about ten weeks.
During Rev. Cain's tenure, we had several ministers who came to help out ... usually in the summer. In 1975, for example, John Clarke was our minister in training for the summer. He would preach at the evening services. Another "summer minister" was John Williams.
Rev. Hugh Baker: 1976-1978
Rev. Cain was followed in 1976 by Rev. Hugh Baker. It seems as though Rev. Baker met with the same problem that several other ministers had faced ... following a popular pastor. He arrived here late due to illness. He was a charasmatic preacher. While here, the major project in the church was the construction of the Activities Building. Though Mrs. Baker suffered through health problems during their stay here, she liked to help out with the women's projects.
The bishop, Finis A. Crutchfield, and D.S., Kenneth McDowell, held service at the Gibson church at 8 a.m. on Sunday, January 11, 1976, to commemorate the early Methodists who built the church in 1849. Services are still held on the first and third Sundays of the month. The building is opened with the original key. You may want to look at the hymnals, Bibles, and Sunday School books which date back to the 1800's. You can look for a hole in the floor that was drilled to help water drain out in 1882 when the building flooded. The pews are the original set. The kerosene lamps were converted to electricity some years ago.
The Youth Hut was torn down in the summer of 1977. The Activity Center was completed in 1978 at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars. Besides the gym area, there was a kitchen, women's room, Boy Scout room, and a chapel. The chapel was dedicated to Hayes Marcel, Sr., who had passed away the previous November. The stained glass cross in the chapel can be seen from Boston Lane. It was made by Hartwell Lewis.
A youth directer, Butch Kent, was hired while Rev. Baker was here. The youth began their annual chicken barbeque to raise funds for a summer trip. The first trip funded by the Senior High BBQ was to Disneyworld in August, 1977. In 1978, they went to Arkansas. Mr. Kent left us in 1978, since we were now getting two pastors.
A preschool was begun at this time, also. Martha South was the director. The church secretary was Pat Fanguy.
Rev. John Winn & Rev. Carole Cotton-Winn: 1978-1988
Houma got its first man and wife team as ministers in 1978. Rev. John M. Winn, Jr. and Rev. Carole Cotton-Winn were appointed to the Houma charge. They prepared for their sermons and took the worship hour seriously. They really opened up the church to the community.
Carole Cotton-Winn was born in Rayville, Louisiana. John grew up near New Orleans. Both of them received their theological education from Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. John has four children from his first marriage. One of these, his daughter Carol Susan Winn, became a Methodist minister.
Under the leadership of Jack McNamara, who had been a long-time director of the youth choir, the youth presented the musical "Alleluia." They would present an encore of the musical a couple of years later.
It was a busy year for our church in 1980. The Koinonia Circle, a ladies' group, began meeting in April, 1980. New pew Bibles were purchased and dedicated on July 27, 1980. Our "summer minister" was Ron Dauphin. The Senior High made a summer trip to Disneyworld, while the Junior High went to Panama City (Noah's Ark).
A clown ministry was begun under the leadership of the Junior High counselors, John and Carol Millwater. They were honored by the state in 1980. They later became involved in helping out the Special Olympics.
Our old organ had just about had it. An organ committee was formed, headed by Pat Porter. After deciding that a pipe organ was too expensive, they decided on an Allen Digital Computer Organ (cost about $25,000).
First Church of Houma held its first Ecumenical songfest in 1980 to a packed sanctuary. Choirs from the surrounding community were invited to join our own choir in a Sunday night presentation.
The pews were sent to be refinished in August of 1981. The refinishing company sent us chairs to use while the pews were being worked on. While the pews were out, new carpeting was laid and the sanctuary was painted. The pews were reinstalled by the end of October. Later, in 1982, the stained glass windows were repaired and covered with Lexan to protect them.
The new Bayou Blue United Methodist Church was consecrated on July 5, 1981. This church, which was formerly named Lagrange United Methodist Church, has moved to a different location and erected a sanctuary and educational building at the new site.
Some of the Senior High youth, led by Russell Elliott and our "summer minister" Keith, attended an Appalachian Service Project in 1982.
The end of 1982 brough us a mystery. A number of items began disappearing. It was discovered that someone had stolen a set of church keys. He was making himself at home in the church ... eating out of the kitchen, showering in the bathroom, stealing items to sell. He was living in an old car on the Pettigrew property next door. He was finally caught and the mystery was solved.
Many activities were planned for 1984, the 200th anniversary of Methodism in America. The biggest by far was Wesley Fest. It was a festival that offered food, crafts, and entertainment. Over 1,000 tickets were sold. The event was repeated as Wesley Fest II in 1985. It would be several years before the church would try another festival-type event.
Another member of the First United Methodist Church of Houma decided to enter the ministry at this time. Steve Porter graduated from Asbury and became an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. He has served appointments in northern Louisiana.
Mrs. Pettigrew, who lived next door to the church, was not fond of the Methodists. The singing and chimes seemed to irritate her. In her later years, she moved off of the property to be cared for and the house was left in disrepair. When she passed away in the mid 1980's, Judge Pettigrew wanted to sell the property. Hartwell Lewis, Russell Elliott, and John Winn approached Judge Pettigrew. The judge wanted $490,000 for the property, though the land was appraised for only $230,000. The judge kept calling until one day when Hartwell Lewis offered him $250,000 ... if he accepted by nightfall. He did. The deal was closed by July 1, 1987.
The church was still unsure about taking such a big step. They were given until January 1, 1988 to make a decision. At a board meeting, Audrey Marcel stood and said that they should pray on this decision. Everyone stood up and held hands. This broke the ice and the decision was eventually approved. The church came up with the $100,000 by the deadline. It was something that the church really couldn't afford ... but they really couldn't afford not to. The immediate need for parking space was apparent. And the church may someday need the area for expansion. Mr. Lewis put in $23,000 on the parking lot. He sold the property to the church for $230,000 ... the appraised value.
The old Pettigrew house was torn down by the men of the church. While doing so, they found that there were some graves under the house. Evidently they had been buried their when the property was part of Crescent Plantation.
Rev. J. Henry Bowdon, Jr.
Rev. J. Henry Bowdon, Jr. was appointed to Houma in 1988. He had spent the previous five years in Lake Charles, where the Bowdons had bought a house. He was moved to Houma to take over where the Winns left off.
Rev. Bowdon was born on April 21, 1927 in Jackson, Louisiana. His father was Dr. J. Henry Bowdon, Sr., a prominent Methodist minister in the Louisiana Conference. In 1950, he married Virginia Kirkland. They had three sons and one daughter. Rev. Bowdon began his ministry as an associate pastor in Lake Charles in 1952. Much of his ministry was spent in southern and central Louisiana.
Rev. Bowdon was known for his building projects at many of his pastorates. He was very active in the Boy Scouts. He received the Eagle Rank while at the Lake Charles church. He served in a number of positions on various boards in the conference. He has also served on many community associations where he was serving.
In 1988, a group of church members traveled to a church growth seminar at Fraser Methodist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. This was the beginning of a number of changes. In September 1989, the service schedule was changed for the first time in over 30 years. Instead of having Sunday School in between the two morning services, classes would be held at the same time as worship services with a fellowship time in between. Reasons for this move included increasing attendance and increasing space for Sunday School classes. A Children's Church was also begun in the Activity Center. An upstairs area was enclosed to form a room to hold services. Also, a church library was reestablished in the Activities Building.
During Rev. Bowdon's time here, two men decided to enter the ministry. Jim Lowe (who moved to Tennessee) and Walter Parker (who moved to Texas) began attending seminary and preaching.
In January 1992, Rev. Bowdon surprised the congregation by announcing that he was going to retire. He would have liked to preach for a while longer, but he grew weary of the conflicts involved in this pastorate. He "retired" to Lakes Charles, where he has two new jobs keeping him occupied.
Dr. Alan Dee Einsel
Dr. Alan Dee Einsel came to Houma in 1992. He was quite familiar with the church. In 1969, he married Barbara Cain (Jerome and Elsie Cain's daughter) in the Houma church. He had met her while they were both attending the Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. Originally from Kansas, Rev. Einsel transferred to the Louisiana Conference in 1976.
Rev. Einsel was born on February 5, 1939. After getting his Bachelor's degree in business, he joined the Navy. Then he met his future wife, Barbara, while attending Saint Paul Seminary. Barbara would later become a Diaconal Minister of Education. Rev. Einsel later received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Drew University. They were married in 1969 at the First United Methodist Church of Houma. The Einsels have two children, David and Sandy.
Barbara Einsel came to the church not only as the preacher's wife, but also as the Christian Education Director. She is a Diaconal minister in the Methodist Church. After talking about it for years, the church finally managed a way to hire an education director. The plans for the church in 1952 had one of the rooms labeled as the Christian Education Director's office. Over the years, the possibility of hiring one had been brought up several times. The goal was finally reached in 1992. Barbara is even using the same office labeled for the C.E.D. in the 1952 plans.
Since the change in the worship schedule, the attendance of the second service had been declining. The Evangelism committee brought this to the attention of the Worship committee. After an extensive study, it was determined that the schedule change had not accomplished its desired goals. When the congregation was surveyed, it was found that they preferred the "old" schedule. In October of 1992, the church returned to the schedule where the Sunday School took place between the worship services. Children's Church was retained, however, with some adjustments.
With the arrival of the Einsels came the first Festival Under the Oaks. Held in the fall, this annual event provides fun and fellowship for our church and the community. It involved games for the kids, musical entertainment, an art show, and plenty of food.
With the coming of the 150th anniversary of Methodism in our area, plans were made for a celebration. The bishop and former pastors were invited to a special celebration held on May 15, 1994. The history book was distributed and articles were placed in the newspaper. After 150 years, Methodism is alive and well in Houma and Terrebonne parish.
UPDATE: Since the book was written, the debt on the Activities Building and the adjacent property was paid off and the mortgages burnt. In 1998, the Einsels were moved up to Grace UMC in Ruston. Our new (and current) pastor is Rev. Tim Lawson. His wife, Beverly, was hired as our program director.
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