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2 New Orleans churches hold neighborhood block parties

NEW ORLEANS (BP)–Three families worshiped at Vieux Carre’ Baptist Church in the French Quarter on Dec. 4, one day after a block party outreach in the New Orleans neighborhood.

“We don’t have a congregation. Since the storm, no one has returned. It is literally starting over from scratch,” Pastor Greg Hand said.

During the block party, the church was assisted by a team from Georgia in making numerous contacts with residents and visitors to the area.

“We had a lot of people pass through [and] there were a lot of needs met,” Hand said.

One drawing card for the party was the music of Steve Carroll, former keyboardist for the early ’70s band, Three Dog Night. Carroll is the pastor, worship leader and one of the founders of New Freedom Fellowship in Rockmart, Ga. Carroll shared his testimony of committing his life to Jesus Christ and immediately being delivered from drug addiction.

At Calvary Baptist Church in the Algiers neighborhood, an estimated crowd of 800 attended another block party, named Operation Hope, sponsored by Calvary and First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. Chris Davis, minister of missions at the Nashville-area church, sent a team of 29 to staff the block party that included live music, games, rides and 500 pounds of Tennessee barbeque.

One of the highlights for the attendees was the prize tent. Every 15 minutes names were drawn to go through the tent and select from the many items that were donated through the Tennessee church. Grand prizes included recliners, mp3 players, video game units, and baskets of bath accessories.

Seventeen people made professions of faith at the two block parties, including a mother and her son and daughter.

Joan Ann Brown, who lives in the Algiers community, commended Calvary for “doing the ministry that the Lord has called all of us to do, to be ambassadors for Him…. People have to realize that because [Hurricane Katrina] has happened, this is not the end. God did not leave Job and God will not leave us.”

Tim Wright, a parent whose children attend Calvary Baptist School, said the block party demonstrated that “there is hope for a new day, everything is going to be OK, we are going to rebuild, and God has a plan for all of us.”

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  • Keith Manuel