Be a part of the conversation
By Pastor Howard Varnado
Growing up in Alexandria, Louisiana, I was privileged to travel in 1964 to Camp Glorietta, where I heard an outstanding black preacher tell us that it was a sin to send missionaries to Africa if we were not opening our churches to black people in our home towns. As a result, for my first message I told the congregation what this preacher had said.
Later I signed up to be a Headstart teacher in Rapides Parish. That is how God opened the door for me to preach in many black churches in Central Louisiana. In 1968, I was also blessed to teach the Bible at the National Baptist Seminary in New Orleans while I was a student at New Orleans Baptist Seminary.
Years later God opened the way for my wife and me to open our home to many African students attending USL. We had as many as twenty-five Nigerians in our home. One of those young African men would later become my associate pastor when in 1986 the Lord moved us to New York City as pioneer missionaries. While there, we established a primarily African American congregation.
After returning to Louisiana in 1997, God led us to integrate a primarily African American congregation in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. We served this pastor for three years. Later I was privileged to take a course at Xavier University in New Orleans on the subject of Martin Luther King, and wrote a paper about how he and Billy Graham collaborated to end segregation in the South.
We are inviting you to join us for not only keynote speakers but also breakout sessions where we can listen to one another and make comments. While the church seems to be doing well in this area, we know that the unchurched in our area are struggling.