Going through a divorce and raising three children as a single, working mother drew Patricia Henderson closer to God and gave her a heart for women’s ministry.

“By the time I went through all these trials and tribulations, I realized that my life belonged to God,” said Henderson, an associate minister at Greater Sixty Aid Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. “It didn’t belong to me.”

Henderson, 63, spent 18 years as a single mother before remarrying. During that period, she never wavered in faith or stayed away from church. “I knew I couldn’t make it without that,” she said.

Since joining the ministry 11 years ago, Henderson has stepped up in her role in the church. She leads a women’s Bible study and four years ago helped launch the annual women’s conference.

Henderson again will be one of the leaders during the church’s fourth annual Women’s Conference set for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 27 at Greater Sixty Aid Baptist, 655 Gardere Lane.

The conference — with the theme “Seasoned Sisters With a Purpose” — is essentially a culmination of a Bible study series that ran from June to September. “We do have a purpose and our purpose can be found in the studying of the Word of God,” Henderson said. “And

Evangelist and national recording artist LaShun Pace, a friend of Greater Sixty Aid pastor, the Rev. James Barrett, will be a guest at the conference. Pace’s songs include “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” “He Keeps on Doing Great Things for Me” and “There’s a Leak in This Old Building.”

“If she sings even that song (“I Know I’ve Been Changed”), it will inspire them to want to do better, to want to live better, to want to make a change and want to stick with it,” Henderson said.

Praise and worship will be led by Baton Rouge’s Nancy Armstrong. Cost for the women’s conference is $30 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.

Pace also will hold a free concert for men and women at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 and preach at 8 a.m. Oct. 28 at the church.

For more information on the conference, call Henderson at (225) 769-5865.

Talk politics, faith in N.O.

Candidates’ positions on the issues are more important than their denominational backgrounds, says a professor at the New Orleans Theological Seminary.

That’s one of the reasons why presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Mormonism isn’t as big as issue at it could have been, particularly among evangelicals, said Lloyd Harsch, a professor of church history and director of the seminary’s Institute for Faith and the Public.

“I think that part of the reason is that evangelicals have concluded that they are electing a president, not calling a pastor,” he said. “Therefore, it is the candidate’s position on the issues that is of primary importance, not their personal faith convictions … Are you going to defend marriage or redefine it? What’s your position on life?”

The seminary, 3939 Gentilly Blvd. in New Orleans, is offering a program Thursday and Friday on politicians and faith.

During “The Role of Faith in the Public Square,” politicians and former politicians from the two major parities including U.S. Rep. Steve Scarlise, R-Jefferson, and state Sens. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, and state Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa will discuss how faith has influenced their service.

“It’s helpful for us to see Christians from different political parties express their faith,” Harsch said. “It helps to see them more as brothers and sisters in Christ and not representatives on the other side of the aisle.”

The event starts at 11 a.m. Thursday with a chapel service led by the Rev. Barrett Duke, vice president for public policy and research and director of the Research Institute of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Harsch said officials will address the same four basic questions:

  • How has your faith informed your political worldview?
  • How has your inform how you do politics?
  • While you were in office, how has the church help you grow in your faith?
  • How could the church do its job better?

Other speakers include New Orleans City Council member Cynthia Hedge-Morrell and and former U.S. Rep. Joseph Cao, R-New Orleans.

The panel discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday on ‘Being a Pastor to Politicians’ will include the Rev. Fred Luter, pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church and president of the Southern Baptist Conference; the Rev. David Crosby, pastor of First Baptist-New Orleans and the Rev. James Wehrner, director of Notre Dame Seminary.

Cost for the seminary is $25 and $10 for students. Go to http://www.nobts.edu.

Falling short

As royal priests, believers have a responsibility to help others and help bring glory to God by tapping into the power he has given us, author and Minister Salome W. Thompson says in her 93-page book “Falling Short of the Glory” (Authorhouse Publishing).

Thompson challenges readers to take a hard look at their lives to determine if their character reflects the values of Christ.

“This office (of the priest) does not require long white robes trimmed in gold, but rather a lifestyle that will bring a change in the lives of others,” she writes. “We are not alone as we enter into this process. God has equipped us with the Holy Spirit to help us and you don’t have to work for it but you have to submit your whole life.”

Falling short refers to not having faith in the Word and thinking “we have done something of our power own power,”said Thompson, of Alabama. “Once we do that, we have withheld the glory of God for ourselves. He has given us all the power we need to live a godly life and have dominion in our environment.”

Faith Matters runs every other Saturday in The Advocate. Reach Terry Robinson at (225) 388-0238 or email trobinson@theadvocate.com.