Detoured On The Journey But Not From The Mission
NEW ORLEANS – On Aug. 29, 2021, the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church officially closed its doors. Hurricane Ida caused severe damage to the building, making it impossible to worship in. This injured the members’ hearts but not their resolve. The members went into rescue mode, trying to determine where to continue in-person worship services. Prior to the hurricane, Ephesus church held virtual and in-person services every Sabbath. Now with no sanctuary to worship in, the question became “what should we do?”
The Westbank United Seventh-day Adventist Church welcomed the Ephesus members with open arms to worship with them. Opportunities to merge activities of various ministries were available, as well as the pastors sharing the pulpit.
During this time, Harold Goodloe, pastor of Ephesus church, continued his virtual early morning devotion program to encourage and connect with the members. The Ephesus church continued to connect with the neighbors in the area surrounding their church on Delachaise street. Each quarter, the church had a food distribution event for the people in the neighborhood. The goal was to let the community know they are still our neighbors even though we are not physically there and we will be back!
The members of Ephesus enjoyed worshiping with Westbank church but felt it was time to find a place where they could worship again as a group. The Franklin Avenue Baptist Church was available and it appeared to meet the needs of the church. The members were delighted to be together again. Attendance began to rise at the in-person Sabbath service. Various events took place at this location. The Discover Bible School of Knowledge with the Voice of Prophecy was implemented in March 2022. Members were on fire to spread the Gospel of Jesus by enrolling people in the Bible school. The Breath of Life Revival with Debleaire Snell, M.Div., was Sept. 14-17, 2022 which continued to encourage the flames of evangelism.
In October 2022, the members felt that it was time to move back to the neighborhood during the reconstruction of the church. Greater Bright Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church, which is a block from the Ephesus site, opened its doors and hearts to Ephesus on Nov. 5, 2022. The church went into evangelism mode and an evangelistic meeting was held Nov. 11-19. Over 40 individuals joined the Ephesus church and the body of Christ!
The future of the physical rebuilding of the Ephesus church is moving forward and the members are excited about the new structure. As the members watch the reconstruction, they continue with the mission which is the church’s vision for 2023, “Kingdom Living, Kingdom Giving and Kingdom Building.”
By Patrice Haywood