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A Baton Rouge Episcopal parish, chartered in 1973, is dedicating its first proper church building

A Baton Rouge Episcopal parish, chartered in 1973, is dedicating its first proper church building

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


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JC Fisher



David Murray

Bless them, and what a joyous thing for the church when the local church finds blessings. One of which is a new building, but better believers that have strengthen in the faith.

Murdoch Matthew

Meant no disrespect — thought to acknowledge your pronunciation of your name. I like the Spanish sound. (The young Colombian star of the recent World Cup was named James after James Bond, but it’s pronounced HAHmes.)

There is a certain amount of theology that goes with prissy Anglican language. Baptists call their meeting halls “sanctuaries” because they see the whole space as holy, not just the table. I meant disrespect neither to you (in reporting) or the parish in its progress. Just to note the (probable) accommodation of terminology to familiar (evangelical) local practice. Anglicans have a different history and tradition from more recent churches — I like the distinction. My tastes, of course, are of no necessary interest to Baton Rouge.

As an editor of The Angican Digest in the 1960s, I freely rewrote articles we printed to reflect catholic liturgical usage, all in service of emphasizing the church’s apostolic tradition. We were more Chicago High than Nashotah House High, but we were into history and decorum. Now I rather regret the success of the movement to make the Eucharist the chief Sunday worship. The Eucharist requires clergy; laity can do the Offices quite well by themselves. Where priests are scarce or unaffordable, the Daily Offices can be maintained by volunteers. Our local parish has a lay-led tea and Evening Prayer group on Wednesday that often rivals the Sunday service.

Over the years on many forums, I’ve valued your contributions, Brother David. Odd, and instructive, when we differ.

Murdoch Matthew

In liturgical tradition, the sanctuary is the part of the church where the altar sits. There is also the choir, where the ministers sit, and the nave, where the congregation sits. With this image, a “sanctuary” holding 125 people is incongruous.

This posting simply reflects popular, and general protestant, usage. Odd to have it posted by Bro. David.


Murdoch Matthew

I’m sorry to have been snarky about the admirable development in Baton Rouge, when I was just put off by the term “sanctuary” — I was raised Southern Baptist and that usage roused unpleasant memories. Actually, nowadays I don’t even like the symbolism of the three-part church — bishop’s throne and altar, choir for clergy and vested ministers, nave for congregation. It speaks of clericalism. Most churches now have moved the altar near the crossing, where the people may gather around it. (The old arrangement, everyone facing East, had its positive symbolism.) The traditional view had the Church centered on the bishop (with clergy his representative). More and more it’s obvious that the parish is where the church lives. So, kudos to St Margaret’s, Baton Rouge, whose achievement is far more important than nomenclature.

Murdoch Matthew

AND I notice that the generic evangelical language may have come entirely from the uninformed reporter in the original newspaper article. The priest-in-charge points to the construction of the reredos, so he’s not lacking in traditional nomenclature. For whatever difference it makes. There the new structure sits, testimony to community and effort. Call it a kiosk if the witness is effective.

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