BR.eastercoronavirusliv.adv TS 485.jpg

University United Methodist Church's LED sign on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020 displays a message reading 'Wash your hands, Say your prayers, Jesus & germs are everywhere.' The sign displayed other messages, including one that informed congregation members that all events and worship services, including those on Easter Sunday, have been cancelled until further notice, because of limits to social gatherings to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 in the state.

I proudly serve as senior minister of University United Methodist Church on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, and have been an ordained pastor for close to 20 years.

Over these past few months, there have been multiple articles about the United Methodist Church and the churches that have chosen to leave our denomination in the Louisiana area. I reference in particular the Nov. 4 article covering two larger churches, the recent May 28 article in which a full list was published of disaffiliated churches, and then the most recent article on June 4, where I gleefully looked at the headline “La. Methodists look ahead after exits,” thinking, “finally — they will begin to feature our hopeful story.” As I read the piece, it as others before it gave little to no mention of the creative ways we are moving forward.

From this coverage, your readership may not be aware that there are over 280 vibrant UMC congregations who are still offering fruitful ministries all across our state. I would invite you in future weeks to tell our story more broadly, seeking out those of us who remain committed to this denomination and our trusted global witness.

Locally, we have invested millions of dollars and offered thousands in sweat equity hours to transform our communities in every area of Louisiana — servicing food deserts, educating children and joyfully serving those in need of relief in natural disasters. Our annual conference held in downtown Baton Rouge next week will give witness to this.

I am a Louisiana native born in Baton Rouge, have lived here most of my life, and love the work of The Advocate, as you have the power to tell the truth and inspire in ways few can.

We, your community partners, believe in you and hope for better.


Baton Rouge

Want to see your opinion published in The Advocate | Times-Picayune? Submit a letter to the editor.