Mt. Olive Baptist Church No. 1 invites all who have lost loved ones this past year to their annual Memorial Service, “Gone but not Forgotten,” Sunday, May 2, 2021, at 10 am. The service was not held in 2020 because of the COVID restrictions, but is back this year, stronger than ever.
It all started as a dream. Sister Ledanna Livingston Minor of the Mt. Olive Baptist Church No. 1 dreamed of a memorial service held in the church. She saw it all so clearly, the dozens of flowers laid at the altar, down the aisles.
She saw the families and friends, coming from far and near to remember their loved ones. She even dreamed about the preacher who would conduct the service, Rev. Rogers Johnson.
She said her dream was so vivid when she woke up, she felt compelled to call Deaconess Sister Alberta Batiste and share her dream. Together, Minor and Batiste decided that they should contact their pastor, Rev. H.J. Simmons and tell him of the dream, and ask if the church could make it come true.
When she explained her dream, the pastor agreed. “We should call it ‘Gone but not Forgotten’ in honor of those we lost,” she said. She told the pastor she thought the first Sunday in May would be the perfect time to have the memorial, since we celebrate Memorial Day in May. Rev. Simmons said, “Yes, this is fine.”
She planned the first memorial, inviting families and friends to remember loved ones with flowers on the altar. She contacted Rev. Rogers Johnson, who agreed to preach.
The very first service was a great success, with a huge turnout. The Mt. Olive Baptist Church No. 1 Memorial Service had become established. Each year the service has continued, with the exception of last year, because of the COVID pandemic.
“The church used to hold memorial services when members would pass away,” said James. “The annual service takes the place of those smaller services, and gives families some time and space to grieve, so it can really be a celebration of their loved ones’ lives.”
This year, the Rev. Carl Sonnier, pastor of St. Peter Baptist Church in Lafayette will deliver the memorial message. There will be songs and prayer chants by the Mt. Olive choir, scripture readings, prayers and lighting of candles. Families who have lost loved ones are encouraged to bring flowers to be laid upon the altar. There will be a blessing of the flowers and the families.
Families are also encouraged to bring balloons for a balloon launch after the service. The Church will honor all families in attendance. “We also welcome any donations in memory of our dearly departed family members, said Rev. Lester Simon Jr., pastor of Mt. Olive. “If you are unable to attend, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers and we welcome you to mail in your donation.”
All attendees should wear a mask or face covering and maintain social distancing of six feet, as stated in the CDC guidelines.