NEW ORLEANS (BP)–“We’re with you for the duration,” New Orleans-area Baptist churches have told their friends and neighbors at the one-year mark from Hurricane Katrina via a full-page ad in the Time-Picayune metro newspaper.
The full-color ad was purchased in behalf of New Orleans Baptists by the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, Joe McKeever, director of missions for the Greater New Orleans Baptist Association, noted.
The full text of the ad follows:
“AN ANNIVERSARY LOVE-NOTE FROM THE 85 SOUTHERN BAPTIST CHURCHES OF METRO NEW ORLEANS
“You know us. We’re the Baptist church in your neighborhood — like Williams Boulevard Baptist Church in Kenner at Interstate 10, Riverside Church on Jefferson Highway, West St. Charles in Boutte, and Celebration Church on Transcontinental. We’re El Camino Iglesia and El Buen Pastor Iglesia in Metairie, the Vietnamese Baptist Church in Gretna, and the Korean Agape Church in Marrero. In New Orleans, we are Edgewater Church on Paris Avenue, New Salem in the Ninth Ward, and Franklin Avenue, now worshiping with First Baptist Church on Canal Boulevard. We are Grace on North Rampart, Oak Park on Kabel, and Horeb Spanish on Bellemeade. We are Port Sulphur Church downriver in Plaquemines Parish, and in St. Bernard, we’re Poydras and Delacroix Hope Baptist churches, and the coalition church meeting at Chalmette High School. Before Katrina, we counted 140 of our churches large and small in the metro area. At the moment, that number is 85.
“We are the yellow-shirted ‘Disaster Relief’ volunteers you saw for months after Katrina — running chainsaws, gutting out houses, handing out food and water, preparing and serving literally millions of hot meals throughout the area. Our people arrived from every state in the union to assist New Orleans, serving under the leadership of our own Louisiana Baptist Convention (www.lbc.org).
“We are Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Georgia, Kentucky, and Louisiana red-shirted “Builders for Christ,” reconstructing houses throughout the metro area (www.namb.net/bbuilders).
“We are ‘Operation NOAH Rebuild’ with offices at Calvary Baptist Church in Algiers, coordinating the work of a constant stream of volunteers from churches across America. We are the Volunteer Village in the World Trade Center at the foot of Canal Street, able to house 500 volunteers a night. Our people have gutted out thousands of flooded homes already and are at work this very moment rebuilding houses (www.namb.net/noah).
“We are ‘Baptist Crossroads,’ the Ninth Ward project where our volunteers are constructing forty new homes under the direction of Habitat for Humanity. When these homes are finished, we plan to keep right on so long as there is a need (www.baptistcrossroads.com).
“We are the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary on Gentilly Boulevard, birthed in this city in 1917 and committed to the rebuilding of a brand-new New Orleans (www.nobts.edu).
“We are brothers and sisters to all who follow Jesus Christ as Lord. We take literally the words of the Savior when He said, “Inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these my brethren, you do it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). Helping our neighbors is His command and our privilege. We love New Orleans. In fact, we are New Orleans.
“We love you, New Orleans.
“We’re with you for the duration.”
The ad included an invitation to the city’s residents to attend the Aug. 29 prayer and praise rally at First Baptist Church at 7 p.m., featuring music by George Huff of “American Idol” fame and preaching by Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church.
The ad also displayed photos by Keith Manuel, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, whose stories and photographs have appeared in Baptist Press and in the Louisiana convention’s Baptist Message newsjournal.
The Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans is on the Web at www.bagnola.org. Joe McKeever’s blog from New Orleans can be accessed at www.joemckeever.com.