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TBN Honors New Orleans Pastors as it Launches in the Big Easy
NEW ORLEANS (March 3, 2006) --- Hope and gratitude were the prominent themes February 23rd at Sonrise in New Orleans, a special appreciation banquet for New Orleans area pastors hosted by the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Nearly 200 pastors, their spouses, and other special guests attended the event at the luxurious Windsor Court Hotel, followed by a special taping of TBN’s “Praise the Lord” program at New Orleans’ St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church.
Bishop Paul Morton and author Tommy Tenney, two of the speakers at TBN’s Sonrise in New Orleans event honoring area pastors, with New Orleans Council Member Cynthia Willard-Lewis.
“TBN was honored to host some of the New Orleans area’s most deserving Good Samaritans,” said David Adcock, TBN’s National Director for Affiliate Sales and Relations. “From the moment Hurricane Katrina hit over six months ago, local pastors and their congregations were the first to reach out to those devastated by the storm – many after their own churches and homes were wiped out.”
Speakers at the event included Presiding Bishop Paul Morton from Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans, noted Christian author Tommy Tenney, and the Rev. Charles Green from New Orleans’ Faith Church.
“This was an exciting event and an encouragement for everyone attending,” said Amy Fihn, TBN’s Cable Affiliate Promotions Manager and coordinator of the banquet. “Our motivation for Sonrise in New Orleans was to demonstrate that the faith community in New Orleans is alive and well, busy rebuilding shattered homes and lives. And we wanted to honor the leaders of that faith community – the pastors – and offer them an afternoon of refreshing, fellowship, good food, and encouragement.”
TBN also took the opportunity during the banquet to officially announce the launch of the TBN television network in New Orleans on Cox Communications Digital Channel 335. “The launch of TBN in New Orleans is significant because it means there is now 24-hour programming dedicated to praise, preaching, and spiritual encouragement,” said Diane Adcock, TBN’s Southeast Regional Director for Affiliate Sales and Relations . “I can’t tell you the number of pastors who have emphasized to me how much this means to them personally, and to their churches.”
Michelle Stanton, Marketing Coordinator for Cox Communications New Orleans, said Cox “was very proud to partner with TBN in this very important community event honoring the New Orleans pastors for their tireless relief ministry to victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.” As part of its involvement Cox presented a year of free cable service to one of the local pastors in attendance, Bishop Darryl Brister.
One attendee, the Rev. Henry McEnery, who heads up Child Evangelism Fellowship for the greater New Orleans area, voiced the thanks echoed by many pastors for the launch of TBN in New Orleans, and for the recognition banquet honoring area clergy. “The presence of this network right now provides real hope and joy to the people of New Orleans,” said McEnery. “And this gathering today confirms our determination to work together as pastors and churches to bring hope and healing to the people here.”
The Rev. Emmanuel Smith, pastor of Israelite Missionary Baptist Church, called Sonrise in New Orleans “a very exciting, timely event for this time in New Orleans. It brought the Church’s leaders together from every corner of this city, and helped them to see the importance of the Church stepping forward to help bring restoration to the city in God’s way.” He added that the special banquet was “right on target for what we needed, and we thank TBN for thinking of us. The food, the fellowship, the message of hope – it was all very refreshing.”
Several prominent city officials and community leaders also attended the banquet, including New Orleans City Council Member Cynthia Willard-Lewis, who said, “We need more celebrations like this in our city as we rebuild. We can not rebuild this great city without the strength, courage, faith, and spirituality of our churches.”
Bishop Morton emphasized that the Church must be the place of refuge where people turn in time of need. “That’s what the ministry of Jesus Christ is all about – meeting needs,” he said. “That is why we worked so hard to get the church up and running after the storm. We knew that people would need help spiritually, physically, financially, and emotionally, and we wanted to be here for them.”
Author Tommy Tenney drew a comparison between government efforts after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and those of the Church. “Government has the ability to pass out money, but only the Church can fuel hope,” he declared. “In the absence of much progress being done, the Church has been the link to keep hope alive.”
Tenney pointed out that even government is acknowledging that pastors and congregations have taken the lead in providing relief and ongoing support to New Orleans storm victims. “They were faithful responders,” he said, “and they continue to be faithful responders. What is important is that we stay faithful.”
One issue that local faith leaders emphasized during the event was how quickly the mainstream media dismissed New Orleans and other areas devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita after only a few weeks of news coverage. “That was when the real needs began,” said one pastor. “That’s when we could have really used the prayers and attention of the nation. But by that time the media had pretty much moved on to the next big story.”
Noted Adcock, “New Orleans is still very much a hurting city and they were glad to have TBN there to remind the nation of their continuing need for prayer and assistance.” He added that pastor after pastor thanked TBN for hosting the event and for reaching out to encourage church leaders in New Orleans.
Tenney explained that something as simple as the banquet TBN hosted serves as a real morale booster to battle-weary pastors. “I spoke to a lady at TBN's Sonrise in New Orleans luncheon, who earlier that day had been covered in sheetrock dust,” he recalled. “She offered thanks to TBN for giving her a reason to take off the recovery work overalls and put on some nice clothes.”
Later in the evening Bishop Morton served as guest host for a special taping of TBN’s “Praise the Lord” program at Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church. “The program was packed with pastors and their spouses, and the taping was a continuation of the encouragement and great fellowship we experienced at the banquet,” recalled Adcock. Program guests included Tommy Tenney, Jesse Duplantis, the Rev. Charles Green, and New Orleans comedian Tyler Perry.
Bishop Morton expressed his joy at the launch of TBN in New Orleans. “I have been a fan of Paul, Jan, and the TBN family for a long time, and I want the ministry of TBN to expand until the return of Christ,” he declared.
Pastor Charles Green of Faith Church in New Orleans, said, “We’re thrilled that the Christian media, led by TBN, is still here praying, helping, and encouraging the people of New Orleans.”
Noted Paul Crouch Jr., TBN’s Vice President of Administration, “This is what TBN has been about for over 30 years – bringing the good news of the gospel and providing uplifting and encouraging faith-based programming that will reach straight to the heart of communities like New Orleans.”
TBN is the world’s largest religious network and America’s most watched faith channel. Each day TBN offers 24 hours of commercial-free inspirational programming that appeals to people in a wide variety of denominations. TBN now reaches every major continent via 47 satellites and more than 12,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. In the United States, TBN is available to 92 percent of the total households. Its website receives more than 25 million visitors monthly. In addition to TBN, the network owns and operates The Church Channel, JCTV, TBN Enlace USA, and Smile of a Child TV. For more information on TBN, visit www.tbn.org.
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