Thursday, June 20, 2024

Y’all, I’m angry. 

As I sit in my office, writing this message I am angry to be a Louisiana resident because our state is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. If you didn’t know, yesterday our Governor signed legislation that will require every public school classroom to have, “a poster-sized display of the Ten Commandments in ‘large, easily readable font’ in all public classrooms, from kindergarten to state-funded universities.”

Although tax-payer money will not be used to fund this effort - from what I read, donors will - these posters will be required to be on display by January 1, 2025. And in addition to being in a large, readable font, “The legislation also dictates the exact wording that must be displayed. One portion reads: ‘I AM the LORD thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’ Another says: ‘Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his cattle, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.’ It isn't clear how lawmakers decided which text to mandate.”

Here are just a few of my issues with this new law:

1. Not only does this law shred the separation of church and state, (I’ll come back to this) it is so obviously anchored by Christian Nationalism as to be transparent. What makes this clear is that while the 10 Commandments are required, the law “‘authorizes’ but does not require the display of other items in K-12 public schools, including: The Mayflower Compact, which was signed by religious pilgrims aboard the Mayflower in 1620 and is often referred to as America’s “First Constitution"; the Declaration of Independence; and the Northwest Ordinance, which established a government in the Northwest Territory — in the present day Midwest — and created a pathway for admitting new states to the Union.”

2. Which translation of the 10 Commandments is being used? Were Pastors consulted? Rabbis? Religious scholars? A single Hebrew speaker? My point is, the Hebrew of the 10 Commandments is nuanced and layered. It is best understood with study and careful scholarship. To say nothing of the fact that some of the Commandments are focused on God while others are focused on how we treat others. Was the treatment of others considered in this translation? 

3. This law makes a mockery of the separation of church and state, seemingly on purpose. As a life-long Baptist, this is perhaps what makes me the angriest because ours is a faith tradition rooted in religious liberty. If you didn’t know, it was Baptist Pastor John Leland who met with Founding Father James Madison to ensure that religious liberty would be included in the Bill of Rights. And Leland wasn’t the only Baptist to fight for freedom from religion, for religion, and of religion to be foundational in this country. Many Baptists whose names we’ll never know were dedicated to this effort so much so that the Baptist voice was often the loudest and most persistent voice for religious liberty in the US during the 18th and 19th centuries. Baptist Historian William Estep said it well when he observed, “‘ every point in the struggle for religious freedom in the colonies, the Baptists led the way…”

Thankfully, it’s likely that several organizations will be taking up the effort to file suit against this law. And Governor Landry has said he “can’t wait to be sued.” So hopefully there’s time for this legislation to be changed before it’s slated to go into effect in 2025. And yet I’m deeply disturbed that things have gone this far. I’m concerned that our state leadership found this law important enough to pursue while other issues are not being addressed. And I’m wary of what will be coming next. 

But what gives me hope is each of you. The questions you ask. The attention you pay. The genuine care you have for others. Your passion for justice and equality. Your willingness to acknowledge your privilege. I pray that we can continue to engage in these actions and efforts together in ways that truly benefit our entire community not just those in power. 


Join Us for Worship

Sunday, June 23 at 10:45 am

Rev. Jillian Hankamer Preaching

Horton Hears a Who

Genesis 18:1-8, 16

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Our Worship in Song

You may have noticed that the instrumental music, i.e. preludes, voluntaries, and postludes, in the services during June have followed some themes, music from movies, from Broadway musicals, and from the world of Opera. This week the pieces are selected with Pride Month in mind. In the preludes, there is a piece called “Lotus,” composed by Jazz musician and composer for Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, who was, in the 1950’s, openly gay to all his collegues. Dying at an early age from esophageal cancer, Ellington would play “Lotus” at most gigs, as a sort of prayer of remembrance. “I Am What I Am,” from the musical La Cage aux Folles, is a proud, closet-exiting announcement by a gay drag queen. “I Just Want to Dance With You.” From The Prom, is the humble expression by a high school student that she just wants to be able to have a dance with her girlfriend, not to make a grand statement, nor to become the focus of a movement, but just to dance.

The voluntary is “Flying Away,” from Fun Home, by Jeanine Tesori (composer of Shrek, The Musical and premiering an opera at the Metropolitan this year). The musical is based on a memoir about the discovery of a young person that she is lesbian and her relationship to her closeted gay dad.

The postlude is “Montauk,” by Rufus Wainwright. This is a song addressed to his and his husband’s daughter, Viva, born to Lorca Cohen, daughter of singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen and, at the time, Rufus’ partner. It speaks of her coming back to Montauk, a town on Long Island where Wainwright lives and also a mythical place like planet Krypton, to reboot and experience the love of this non-traditional family. It is also an apology of sorts for the helter-skelter life that a performer, constantly on the road, has to lead.

The Anthem will be “This is Me,” from the movie The Greatest Showman, sung by our choral scholars and Justin. In the movie it is sung by Lettie Lutz, the bearded lady in the circus and is a song about strength in the face of brutal criticism and another proud announcement that confirms her individuality and self-acceptance.

At communion, we will sing Of Hospitality by D H. The text is from a rune stone. These were stones from the Nordic tradition which have been found all over northwestern Europe, written in ancient “runic” script. This one speaks of a stranger who comes into one’s midst. A simple act of kindness by the host, a sharing of food, drink, and music, discloses the fact that the stranger is, in fact, Love. “…often goes Love in the stranger’s guise…”

Our Concerns and Celebrations

John Carr

Elvis Stelly

Mary Sandow

Iglesia Bautista Enmanuel, in Ciego de Avila, Cuba.

David Bryan, friend of DH Clark

Marie Easterling, frend of Mara Loeb

Beau Burns, great-grandson of Peggy Burns

V. P. Dalrymple, friend of Anita Breen

Pattie Bewick, sister of Carol Ann Tubbs

Sarah Maloney, friend of Carol Ann Tubbs

Nora Kay Meredith great granddaughter of Kay Southern

Doug O'Neal brother of Debbie O'Neal

We Celebrate with...

Marilyn Decker (24th)

Stephen Payne (26th)

Tiffany Smith (26th)

Larry Prather (27th)

Claire Carrington (27th)

Ray Roberson (29th)

Sherri Free (30th)

as they celebrates their birthdays

Children & Youth

Youth Will Continue to Meet This Summer!
Youth Group Meals Will Still Be Needed
Our youth will continue to meet during the summer months, every Sunday at 5:00. We would like to offer them a light meal. If you would like to help provide a meal click the link to sign up. They love easy meals. Some suggestions are tacos, spaghetti, chili, sandwiches and pizza! Please review the available slots by clicking on the button to sign up. Dates will be added as planning continues. Thank you! We typically have between 10-15 youth and adults. Please call or text Jennifer Kimble-Keen (318-307-6716) with any questions! 

Church Life


Due to youth camp and all of our children’s Sunday School teachers being out of town, there will be no Children or Youth Sunday School on June 30. A nursery will be available for children during the Sunday School hour.


In order to continue our after church fellowship, we need folks to volunteer to provide drinks and snacks. Please see the sign-up sheet in the hall outside the pastor's office!

Please, NO items with icing or "gooey" stuff. This is getting into our rugs and embedded into the concrete floors.


Thursday, July 18 at 7pm at The Fat Pelican!


Our Next book is Lady Tan's Circle of Women by Lisa See. We will meet for potluck and discussion on Thursday, August 1 at 6pm in the home of Kyle Gregory.


NELA Pride: The Festival will take place on Saturday, June 29 from 10am - 4pm in the Monroe Civic Center Arena. General volunteers are needed along with volunteers to work Northminster's table that will be on site. There is a sign-up sheet in the hall where you can indicate your willingness to help and what you would like to help with! Thank you!


Are you interested in the wonderful world of Audio/Visual work? Well now is the time to hone your skills right here at Northminster. we currently have three trained individuals, but one is often unavailable and the other will leave in December so we are on the hunt for help! If you are interested in this ministry, contact Mara Loeb at 348-3026, or Hannah Clark at 366-7625, We need you and training will be provided!!


We are in need of folks who would be willing to serve as "greeters" prior to services. This would involve wearing a name tag provided on the bookshelf in the office, handing out orders of worship and then later after services have begun, taking attendance. After the service you would collect all the sign-in sheets by tearing them out of the book, replacing the book in the appropriate hymn holder on the inside isle and putting the sheets in the church office on the desk. Please contact Jillian or Renee if you are interested in serving in this much needed capacity. Training will be provided!!

Registration opens June 21!

Join the Alliance of Baptists as we make our second pilgrimage to Montgomery, Alabama, to visit the Legacy Sites of the Equal Justice Initiative September 19-21, 2024. Members of the Alliance of Baptists first visited the sites in November of 2022. The experience was so moving and important that we, as a predominantly and historically white organization, have found it important to make a regular pilgrimage to this historic location. We must continue to excavate our roots as an organization, as congregations, and as individuals. Join us this September for our second visit to this important location.

Registration includes access to all of the Legacy Sites and to all of the Alliance programming. The cost of registration is $75. Lodging and meals will be the responsibility of the participants.

The Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society. EJI runs three Legacy Sites in Montgomery. Learn more about EJI here.

There are three legacy sites: The Legacy Museum, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the new Freedom Garden Sculpture Park. The Legacy Sites invite visitors to reckon with the history of racial injustice in places where that history was lived. The Legacy Sites offer visitors a powerful opportunity to engage with history and begin an era of truth telling. The Legacy Museum travels through 400 years of American history, recounting first-person historical accounts of enslavement, racial terrorism, codified segregation, and mass incarceration. The National Memorial for Peace and Justice is a six-acre memorial dedicated to the victims of racial terror and lynchings. And the Freedom Garden Sculpture Park explores the lived experience of enslaved people in America. Learn more about the Legacy Sites here.

Tentative Schedule

Thursday, September 19

1p Gathering/Worship

2p Framing Lecture

4p Group Conversation and Reflection

5p Happy Hour

7p Dinner

Friday, September 20

9a Centering Practice

10a Visit the Legacy Museum and the Monument for Peace and Justice

4p Optional Reflection Gathering

6p Dinner

Saturday, September 21

9a Reflection, Small Group Conversations, Large Group Closing

11a Visit Sculpture Park

Noon depart

Schedule is subject to change. Please check the website for the most up-to-date information.


Who can attend the gathering?

Anyone who is interested in the material being presented or interested in the work of the Alliance is invited to join us in Montgomery! You do not have to be member of the Alliance or an Alliance congregation to participate.

What is included in the cost of registration?

By registering for this event through the Alliance of Baptists, you'll receive group tickets to all of the Legacy Sites and will be able to attend all of the Alliance programming. Light snacks and breakfast will be provided.

What is the registration deadline?

All registrations need to be made by September 1, 2024 or until all of the registration spots have been filled.

Can I cancel my registration?

Yes. There is a $25 processing fee to cancel your registration. Please contact

Can I register for the gathering when I arrive?

Unfortunately, no, we cannot accommodate same-day registrations. You will need to register before September 1 to attend the event.

I’m having trouble filling out the registration form. Who should I contact?

Please email for assistance with the registration process.

The Alliance of Baptists is a vibrant movement of people, faith communities and ministry partners who are deeply passionate about ecumenism, partnership in mission, relentless hospitality and racial and social justice.

Leadership Team

Carole Collins, co-director

Reverend Elijah Zehyoue, Ph.D., co-director


Reverend April Baker, mission and ministry partner liaison

Reverend Stephanie True Cooper, strategic communications and clergy engagement manager

Reverend Brett Harris, development and visual communications manager

Kristy Pullen, communications and development associate

Mission Opportunities



This mission emphasis was carried over to June as no collections were made in May.

Our May Mission is MedCamps of Louisiana.  MedCamps’ Mission is to improve the health and wellness of people living with chronic illnesses and disabilities through unique recreational and educational camping experiences.  They believe that all people, regardless of medical or special needs, deserve to experience life to the fullest and that camping is an American tradition which epitomizes normalcy and provides participants with a sense of well-being, belonging, accomplishment and self-worth.  MedCamps has never charged a fee to attend camp.  


NEEDS: Gift Cards (Wal-Mart, Target, Lowes, Academy), Sharpie Markers, Batteries (A, AA, AAA), Lysol, Lysol cleaning wipes, Baby Wipes, Air Fresheners. Cleaning supplies: Simple Green Cleaner, Duct tape, Paper towels, Toilet paper, , First aid kits, Light bulbs, Mosquito spray, Wasp and hornet spray, Latex Free Gloves, All laundry detergent: sensitive free.

Coming Up

This Sunday

9:00 am - Choir Rehearsal

10:00 am - Sunday School

10:45 am - Preludes

11:00 am - Worship Service

Noon: Northminster Fellowship

5:00 pm - Youth Group


6:30 pm - Choir Rehearsal

The choir will be on rehearsal hiatus during the month of July and will only meet at 9am on Sunday mornings.

Upcoming Events

Sunday, June 30: No Children or Youth Sunday School.

Sunday, following worship: 5th Sunday Lunch at Jade Garden.

Sunday, June 30 at 6:00pm: PRIDE Celebration Service.

Sunday, July 21: Movie Night.

The Floral Offering

The floral offering on Sunday, June 16 for Father's Day was given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of Bill Kight by the Kight Family

Arrangement by Marilyn Decker

Giving to Northminster

If you have found a space of community, or healing, or hope at Northminster and believe in the work we are doing, please consider supporting us financially so that we will be able to continue creating spaces like this in all the days to come. Just click here, or scan the QR code with the camera on your phone.

Find Us

Northminster Church is located at:

2701 Lamy Lane

Monroe, LA 71201


Church Office Hours:

Monday -Thursday 9am to 4 pm

Closed Friday

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Click here to view a video of our Church bilding and grounds

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State of Belief 

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Vocal Vibes

by Dr. Deborah Chandler,

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