The voice of God led Joycelyn Green from the offices of the Legislature to the church office.
The Port Allen resident was a longtime employee in the House of Representatives, even serving as the executive director of the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus, before becoming the administrative secretary rather reluctantly at Gloryland Baptist Church in Baton Rouge 12 years ago.
“God brought me to Gloryland to work in that office,” Green said. “Three years before I actually left the House of Representatives, a voice came to me and said, ‘You’re going to do 20 years and you’re going to work in the ministry.”
Green’s work at Gloryland has certainly been a ministry that has expanded far beyond the church offices.
“It’s like a second home for me. I’m very passionate about what I do,” she said.
One of her greatest passions is her role as executive director of the Gloryland Educational Resource Center Inc., a nonprofit faith-based social services group targeting the 70805 ZIP code.
“It’s a joy to us to be able to give back to the community and help everyone in our community,” said Green, who has led the 10-member GERC board for three years. “We are a small group. We’re not known to a lot of people but we do a lot of things that impact the community.
The mission of GERC is to “embody the spirit by empowering families through education, health and wellness, and social service programs for the community, while embracing Christian values.”
GERC operates a food and clothing pantry; a health fair; an after-school tutorial program; and an highly popular summer enrichment program that teaches reading, math, music and character building to 75 students.
“Everything that we do, we do from the heart,” Green said. “We all come from different professional backgrounds, and we just do things to help the children. All ages benefit from what our GERC board does. We’re able do things that the church is not able to do financially.”
GERC is a church effort, said Green, who has a bachelor’s degree in education from Southern University and a master’s in counseling from Kansas State University.
“We are like family,” she said. “It’s a village, and we are that village.”
A major event for GERC is its annual fundraising luncheon and silent auction where it awards high school seniors. The keynote speaker for this year’s event on June 16 was Congressman Cedric Richmond, of New Orleans.
GERC’s work is a testament to the unique role of the church to the community, Richmond said.
“The church can do things that the government and schools can’t do it,” he said. “You can guide kids and help them figure out what their purpose is ... You can also give them that push to help them get there, and you can do it in a way where they don’t have the constraints of government and school boards or anywhere. It think the love that’s in a church and the faith I think transcends anything else.”
Churches which try to help people should receive help, Richmond said.
“I think that we have a role to support these churches so that so they can get more and more scholarships to affect more and more kids,” he said. “That’s the only way we’re going to turn society around. We can’t do it with laws.”
Richmond knows how important a role faith and the church can play in the life of children. He said he was raised in the church by his a single mother and his grandparents after the death of his father at an early age.
“You have to combine faith with love and good parents and the sky’s the limit,” said Richmond, who graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta and the Tulane University School of Law. “That story I try to tell kids as much as possible to let them know that they could do anything they want to do.”
Spirit of Pentecost
The ultimate answer to the aliments in our cities and the nation is in the “spiritual element,” Apostle Lloyd Benson said in promoting this year’s Spirit of Pentecost Conference.
The conference is set for July 17-23 at Life Cathedral Worship Center, 2103 S. Philippe Ave., Gonzales. There will be sessions at noon and 7 p.m. National recording artist and worship leader William Murphy, of Atlanta, will be among the featured guests. Other nightly speakers will be the Rev. Frank Manguno, of Plaquemine; Bishop Gregory Cooper, of Baton Rouge; the Rev. Joseph Ricard Sr., of Amite: and the Rev. Roger DeCuir, of Pasadena, California.
The conference culminates with a march from the Governor’s Mansion starting at 8 a.m. to the steps of the State Capitol, as Benson will be joined by other clergy, dignitaries, political voices, business owners and other residents from across the state to pray for protection, repentance and mercy.
Benson heads the World Link of Churches and Businesses, an organization that includes nearly 200 churches and businesses across America, Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and Haiti. Headquarters for the organization is Benson’s Cathedral World Worship Center on McCann Drive in Baton Rouge.
Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Terry Robinson can be reached at (225) 388-0238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.