A Baton Rouge LA parish that started as a small gathering in a bar in 1972 is going to dedicate its first proper worship space tomorrow, 12 APR 2015, with the assistance of the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, the Rt Revd Morris K. Thompson Jr. As the congregation grew in numbers, they met in various parish halls until they built their own, on their own property,
But they have met in that parish hall with low ceilings for decades, as the membership ebbed and flowed with the Episcopal church’s issues of the day and the temperament of various priests assigned to lead them. They were caught up in what the present day priest-in-charge, the Revd W. Patrick Edwards, refers to as Angri-canism, mostly centered around sexuality, gay clergy and the anger over the different opinions various members held.
Revd Edwards says they have overcome that obstacle in their church’s life by centering around a ministry of inclusivity based on the Gospel.
“When I first came here there were 40 here — we’ve pretty much doubled in size and the budget has essentially doubled as well. Our story now is a story of rebounding from that experience and finding mission that is not against something or against some people — but healing from that and being about ministry of inclusivity that is based on the gospel and not a lot of other things.”
The new building was built by the construction company of a current member of the parish and will seat 125 people, so there is room to grow. It incorporates the recycling of ceiling lights and stained glass windows that were once part of other church buildings. It is also debt free. The parish members donated the $175,000 to build the structure, but didn’t wish to go into debt for furnishings. The dozen parishes of the Baton Rouge Convocation, led by the Revd Mark Holland, Dean, raised an additional $36,000 to complete the interior.
Read the full story and view additional photos of the building project here.
posted by David Allen
photo by Mark H Hunter – the Acadiana Advocate