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Historical Reflections

“For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Hebrews 3:4

Based upon their belief that those who trust in God must assume every challenge with assurance that God will fulfill the promise that is affirmed by faith in him, a few Christian people, at the suggestion of the late Brother Charlie Dawson, Sr., met at the home of the late Brother Kemp Thomas and Sister Luvenia Thomas. This occurred in 1941, and they had one mind and were all on one accord. They evoked the divine guidance of God. The Spirit of God led them to organize a church in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. They discussed the selection of a leader for the church. During this time, appearing on the scene was a young man who was making his way to the forefront. It was said that this young man could preach your soul into heaven, for he was a good preacher. Each member of their group agreed that they would ask this young, dynamic minister to assist them in organizing their church, which would be called True Light Baptist Church.

The church was organized in January of 1941 by beginning with prayer meetings and nightly services. The first communion for the new congregation was served on April 14, 1941 by the Reverend J. E. Lee because Reverend Forrest had not been ordained. The worship services were held in what had been an old macaroni factory located on North 40th in the Eden Park area of Baton Rouge, with a total membership of seven persons. They were brothers Charlie Dawson, Morgan Christentary, Andrew Williams, Sisters Rachel Hawkins, Selena Williams, Elsie Williams, and Geneva Williams. Sister Selena Williams served as the Mother of the Church until Sister Luvenia Coleman Thomas moved her membership from Saint Matthew Baptist Church to the True Light Baptist Church. At this time, Sister Thomas was elected Mother of the True Light Baptist Church, an office she held until her death in April 1981. Sister Sam Ella Robertson served in this position until her death on May 7, 2004.

In the new church, the first offering called, and dues collected netted a total of three dollars and thirty-five cents ($3.35) of which one dollar and fifty cents ($1.50) was given to the Reverend John Lee for his services.




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Brother Chester Forrest became the Reverend Chester Arthur Forrest on May, 1941, when he Street was ordained by the Reverend William Pitcher who was assisted by the Reverend D. H. Newman and Anderson Brooks. Reverend Forrest served communion to this congregation for the first time on Sunday, May 11, 1941. The offering and dues collected at this service was eighteen dollars and seventy-five cents ($18.75).

On the Monday night following this communion service, revival services were started, and six (6) souls were added to the church’s membership. These persons were baptized on the Second Sunday in June, 1941. The first baptismal service was held at an outdoor pond called Little Misery. Three more people were baptized in July of the same year.By May, 1942, the congregation had grown to twenty-seven (27) persons. The desire for a church structure of their own to hold worship services was an ever-pressing thought of the members of the congregation. They had no land and very little money for this project. The membership organized themselves into two (2) clubs and began the process of raising funds for land and a new church building. Finally, they had enough money to purchase a plot of ground on the corner or North 39th

In 1943, Reverend Forrest and his congregation held a joyful ground breaking ceremony. Persons throughout the community participated in the ceremony. A new church building was soon erected and dedicated to the glory of God. This structure very quickly became too small to accommodate the growing congregation; therefore, an addition was and Zion Streets. made to the building. Another building program began and was successful. This they soon outgrew.The old church building was moved across the street onto Zion Street to make way for the construction of a new building.

On Sunday April, 1955, the congregation of True Light Baptist Church, along with their minister marched into a new building for the formal dedication services. Reverend William Pitcher delivered the sermon. Later a church center was erected on property purchased across the street from the church.

True Light seemed to be suffering constant growing pains, because once again the building became too small for its growing congregation. Property on North Street was purchased by the church in 1975, and plans for a new church building began. In 1976, another ground breaking ceremony took place and on Sunday, May 22, 1977, the new church building was dedicated with Reverend Pitcher, once again, delivering the sermon.

Pastor Hebert

After the death of Reverend Forrest, Reverend John Earthly served the church untiringly as Pastor for almost two (2) years. On December 5, 1989, the Reverend Dennis R. Hebert was elected as the new Pastor. He serves faithfully and diligently in this position, and endeavors to continue the legacy left by the founders. He also seeks to improve the services of the church been combined to strengthen and improve them, to become more productive in their services to mankind.

Many church ministries and activities have been added with the appointment of a Youth Minister to enhance the Christian Education of the young people. Activities such as a summer youth program, which engages the young children ages 4 to 15 in wholesome activities; a boys and girls softball team; various retreats; an annual tent revival and street ministry; a senior citizen and retirees program; an outreach ministry to serve the needy; a transportation ministry, and other assistance programs.

A Vision of Hope….