Church hopes anniversary serves as homecoming ceremony

Published 5:18 pm Friday, November 18, 2016

The members of Paradise Missionary Baptist Church say they are carrying on what their founders started 50 years ago. Their upcoming anniversary, moreover, is the beginning of their next 50 years.

The church will host an anniversary service at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the church, 227 Highway 365 in Port Arthur. The guest speaker will be Simon Carron with Jireh World Church and Outreach Ministry in Port Arthur.

At 3 p.m., there will be a balloon release ceremony to honor all deceased members and at 3:30 p.m., the Rev. Claude Comeaux of New St. John Baptist Church in Port Arthur will be preaching. A banquet/dinner on the grounds will follow the last service.

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The theme for the day is “God is Able.”

“We’re hoping and praying this will become a homecoming service,” said Deacon Dwight Jones.

The church started in August 1966 and their pastor, the Rev. Delton Narcisse, has been the spiritual leader for almost as long, being named pastor in 1968.

The church was a spin-off from Guiding Star Baptist Church in Port Acres.

“A group of parishioners from El Vista and the Montrose area wanted a place to worship and they organized,” said oldest member Sister Carole Ann Hebert. She grew up in the church.

The first pastor, Leonard Norman, gave the church its name. The next pastor before Narcisse was the Rev. Willie Motley.

The only church organist has been Jacqueline Jones.

The original church was built next door to the church’s present location.

The founders of the church — George Johnson, Clarence Norman, Willie Smith, Walter Charles, Dan McDaniel, Winston Keller, J.W. Wilson, Eugene Dorsey and Mother of the Church, Irma Norman — were featured in a photograph in the The Port Arthur News the day the church opened.

The members built the first church themselves. They used borrowed wood or donated wood from construction worker Joe Jones.

“Clarence Norman spearheaded the building. We worked well together,” Hebert said.

Narcisse, likewise, spearheaded the effort in 2001. The original building was demolished in 2006.

“I was a general contractor and I laid out the material. We didn’t have to take out any mortgage either,” he said.

Jones said Paradise has members “all over the place” and they would love to see them on Sunday.

“They’re our children,” he said. They started here and they’re our legacy.”

“We would love to see the church continue on and see the community grow. To God be the glory.”

David Ball: 409-721-2427