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August 2022


Christianity in Our Family

          Religious Freedom has many connotations. Thinking back to my childhood, how we heeded the words of those older and so much wiser. They advised us on religious choice, finance, life and romance. Often there were times when it was easier to sit and listen to the lectures on life, romance and financial choices then it was to hear suggestions on religious freedom. Many of us were exposed to only two types of religious beliefs at such a young age but preparation began young. It was their belief that if you train up a child the way he should go, he would not depart from the values he learned in his youth.

          Our parents entrenched these values in our minds and hearts to help us become well-adjusted men and women. Many of us were able to do just that while others chose paths suited for their way of life. This was not a test. It was simply a fair opportunity handed out evenly, not judged on physical features, skin color, location, or luck.

          But when it came down to religious freedom, we had none. We were either given an age, or a season by which we were expected to begin our quest for biblical awareness and acceptance. We were to prepare ourselves for midday Bible Study and Prayer Service. All candidates met at the home of one of the elderly members’ home. Other members of the deacon and deaconess boards would be in attendance as well as parents and other seasoned Christians.

          These individuals would sing, read scriptures and pray for the souls of those unsaved persons among them. There were times when the Holy Spirit would be in the midst and Candidates were saved, while other times, many confessed at the church where nightly services were also held.

          Religious freedom to us was the choice to attend a number of churches on any given Sunday. We would attend Sunday School, then Sunday Service at a nearby church, and then attend a service or a special function at one of the neighboring churches within the parish. That was religious freedom for most of the African American children living in Saint Bernard Parish. There were varying beliefs as to the manner by which one was accepted as a candidate for baptism but, the focus was always to bring unsaved souls to Christ.


          The religious foundation of the Carr family began as followers of the Methodist faith; while the Baptist religious beliefs can be attributed to Rev. Samuel Smith (original). He was the founder of the First African Baptist Church of Saint Bernard Parish (as originally known). His leadership was strong and with the help of our grandfather, Rev. William Henry Carr, the church grew and flourished. Together, they laid the foundation for those who would follow to serve as representatives of Christ. After the death of Rev. Samuel Smith (original), as Pastor, Rev. William Henry Carr ordained Rev. Hezekiah Jones, Rev. Sam Smith, Rev, R. Palmer and Rev. Granderson Hunter.

          At that time there were no gimmicks, no short-cuts, and no escalation in hierarchy. The main objective was to enlighten Biblical teachings while building a strong foundation for daily life. Gladly, there are many denominations and numerous places of worship within the area. Thankfully, women are welcomed in the pulpit and can be observed handling responsibilities once afforded only to men. Thank God for revealing His choice for the lives of His disciples. 

Yvonne Richard-Sanchez

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