September 24, 1891 - April 21, 1962
|Reverend Jean Pierre Bonnecarrere was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 24, 1891. He married Sadie Mary Stoufflet at Lockport, Louisiana, December 18, 1912. Their marriage was blessed with ten sans and daugh-ters, eight of whom are yet living for Christ and His Church.
Reverend Bonnecarrere lived a full, rich and varied life. He was a man of many talents. He was a talented salesman and gave up a lucrative sales position to enter the ministry at only a pittance of his former salary. He was an accomplished singer who used his gift of song to build a chapel to Christ in the hearts of his parishioners; and, supremely, Brother Bonnecarrere was a dedicated preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Licensed to preach at Kentwood, Louisiana, in May, 1923, he proclaimed the good news of God in Jesus Christ for almost thirty-nine years. Some of this was “unofficial” preaching, for recurrent periods of illness forced him into retirement in 1954. But he never ceased to witness, by word and deed, for his Lord. Wherever he could find a congregation, be it only one or two persons, Brother Bonnecarrere preached.
Something about Brother Bonnecarrere reminds us of the old-time circuit riding preachers. He never rode a horse across the mountains to pastor churches, but he once drove a Model T Ford while ministering to the spiritual needs of the members of seven congregations on a single pastorate. And he served these in the finest Methodist tradition.
The Apostle Paul once said: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Paul meant that his life bore the marks of the hardships and sufferings of his ministry. It can also be said of Brother Bonnecarrere that he bore in his body “the marks of the Lord Jesus.” For what occasioned his physical breakdown? Was it not the long hours, the ceaseless toil, the heart over-burdened with the cares of his people? Was it not his passionate zeal to love and serve and witness? The marks of his Lord, he bore them, yes; and he bore them triumphantly.
But he did more. He left his own mark upon life, wherever he went. During his ministry he organized four new churches and helped to rebuild or remodel twenty-two churches and parsonages. Wherever he went, he built for the Lord; and preachers who followed him found a better church in which to preach, a better house in which to live. He left his mark upon the landscape.
Better still, he left his mark upon people. He persuaded more than one young man to answer the call to preach. And who can say how many persons professed faith in Christ through his preaching, witnessing and counseling.
Who knows how many infants he presented to the Lord in baptism, how many couples he united in the holy bonds of wedlock? Who can tell the number to whom he brought courage, hope and consolation? He was loved and respected because he practiced what he preached, and he preached what he practiced.
Brother Bonnecarrere was kind and gracious and loving. And his life was lived out in gratitude and humility. As he reminisced about the past, again and again one heard him say, “The Lord has been good to us.” Another phrase which often found its way to his lips was “Praise the Lord!” He always said it fervently, for he knows where lies the glory of life. He knew full well who is “the giver of every good and perfect gift.”
His spirit of gratitude and humility finds eloquent expression in the last paragraph of his autobiography: “I would be failing to do justice to my wife and the children if I failed to mention her amid the trials and troubles, as well as the joys and pleasures we have had as we have gone down the years of time together, and if we have achieved anything the credit is largely due her, by the grace of God, for having stood by so faithfully throughout all our married life. Too, the folks we were privileged to serve in the ministry were very kind, patient, forbearing and gracious . . . Praise the Lord!”
On Saturday, April 21, 1962, Brother Bonnecarrere came to the end of his earthly journey. His funeral was held at Winboume Methodist Church, Baton Rouge, with The Reverends D. W. Poole, T. D. Lipscotnb and Reuel H. Allen officiating. His body was laid to rest by the graveside of a son who gave his life in military service to his country. Brother Bonnecarrere rests now where he belongs, in the hands of Almighty God, and nothing can ever dislodge him from God’s loving care. In this life he presented his body “a living sacrifice;” and he has gone to a life which shall richer, fuller be.
|Source: Journal of the Louisiana Conference of the Methodist Church, Pages 241-242, 1962 by Reuel H. Allen.|