Northminster is a progressive, inclusive community of faith that seeks to embody God’s Love in the world. Each week we gather in a beautiful space to tune our hearts to Love through sacred stories, majestic music, thoughtful liturgy, open-hearted prayer. We value asking hard questions, and cultivating relationships characterized by loving-kindness.
We are a family largely made up of “spiritual refugees,” and if you have experienced trauma and exclusion at the hands of the church, you will be in good company here. Every part of you is welcome here – your gender, your sexuality, your race, your politics, your theology – we welcome and affirm every part of you because you reveal a unique piece of the image of God, and we are better because you are with us.
Welcome to Northminster.
Claire and Zachary Helton, Co-Pastors
Services & Schedules
The worship of God is central at Northminster, blending the Christian liturgical tradition with our own Baptist heritage. Worship begins each Sunday morning with musical preludes at 10:45 a.m., and Communion is observed each Sunday. We take seriously that each person is created in the image of God as we experience the adventure and aspiration of corporate worship, which promotes recognition of inclusiveness, honesty, acceptance, and challenge. Through worship, we seek to encounter and celebrate the love, mercy, grace, and mystery of God.
Sunday, 10:45 am - Worship Service
Sunday, 10:00 am - Sunday School
Sunday, 5:00 pm - Youth
Wednesday 6:30 pm - Choir Rehearsal. Also meet at 9am Sunday mornings
*Any additional services or activities will be
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Wednesday 29th at 5:30pm Winter Book Study
Saturday 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Daughters of Eve rehearsals
Wednesday 5th Winter Book Study
Thursday 6th Northminster Book Club
Wednesday 12th Winter Book Study continues
Wednesday 19th Winter Book Study continues
Wednesday 26th Ash Wednesday Service
Winter Book Study
Mark your calendar and go ahead and find your copy of Kate Bowler's Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved for our Winter Book Study this Jan-Feb. We'll gather for four meetings on Wednesday nights at 5:30 to tackle this readable memoir of personal grief and the pain that bad theology can layer on top of it. Please note that the book deals with the author's experiences with cancer and with infertility, so if these are triggering subjects for you this may not be the best season for you to encounter this book.
Dates & Readings
January 29: Preface - Ch. 3
February 5: Ch. 4-5
February 12: Ch. 6-7
February 19: Ch. 8-9 (and appendices)
Read more about the book and find a retailer to order from online at katebowler.com. (You can find it at our local Books A Million in the "Biography" section as long as it's in stock, and there is one copy available at the library.)
As part of the Body of Christ in the world, Northminster Church values diversity and inclusivity in our relationships. Our distinctly Baptist affiliation is with the Alliance of Baptists, a movement of progressive Christians - individuals and congregations - seeking to respond to the continuing call of God in a rapidly changing world.
Visit www.allianceofbaptists.org for more information.
"This is a story about people finding a fellowship that is more like home than any ever dared to think was possible. More than that, it is a story about people who are home." - C. Welton Gaddy, Coming Home: For All Those Who Dream of a New Church.
The First Years: A House Church and a Coffee Table
Northminster began around a coffee table. Sunday afternoon before Advent 1988, twenty-five to thirty friends met for worship in a home. There was no thought then of forming a church but simply of maintaining a fellowship of freedom-loving Baptists: free to worship, to minister, to be the people God was calling us individually (and, as it developed, collectively) to be. Through 1988 and into the early part of 1989 these friends and others who joined them continued to meet for worship in homes. By the second meeting there was a choir, anthems, hymns and beautiful worship. The coffee table became a communion table. As Northminster has gathered every Sunday since, the weekly celebration of communion has been a central part of our worship experience.
Jews and Baptists: The Hospitality of Temple B'Nai Israel
In early 1989 because we had outgrown the home in which we were meeting, we approached the congregation of Temple B'Nai Israel with a request to use their facility for worship and education. They agreed and thereby helped to birth not only a new church, but new friendships, new understanding, and a new awareness of what it means to be children of God. Our congregations continue to maintain a close relationship. In February 1989 we voted to form a church. We adopted a covenant, and in order to be inclusive to all we decided to call ourselves Northminster Church. In the spirit of our roots, however, our corporate name is Northminster Baptist Church. We were officially chartered on Palm Sunday, March 19, 1989 with seventy-six founding members. In the spring of 1990 Northminster was denied membership in the Northeast Baptist Association because our membership is open to all Christians who find their baptism meaningful and because of the association's perception of Northminster's understanding of pastoral authority. Northminster Church has always been most closely affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists (a movement of progressive Christians - individuals and congregations - seeking to respond to the continuing call of God in a rapidly changing world), and in September of 1998 the congregation voted unanimously to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention.
Building a Church, Baptizing in the Bayou
In December of 1989 Northminster purchased a 4.8 acre tract of land at the corner of Loop Road and Lamy Lane on Bayou Desiard in Monroe. Construction on a building to house the congregation began in April 1991. The building was dedicated on September 8, 1991 with Dr. Frank Stagg preaching the dedicatory sermon. Additional property was purchased in 1994, making the church's total property approximately 6 acres. Northminster has no baptistry; instead, we gather on the banks of Bayou Desiard for baptismal services. Since the beginning, Northminster has had strong lay leadership, and initially did not call a pastor. We were (and are) in Carlyle Marney's term "priests to each other." For our first three years we were fortunate to have a host of talented persons fill our pulpit. Don and Cathe Nixon were our first ministers, Don serving as Minister of the Arts and Cathe as Director of Christian Education. Don established an outstanding choral music and arts program that continues to this day. In the spring of 1992 the congregation decided to move forward with a search for our first pastor. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy preached his first sermon as pastor on the first Sunday of Advent, 1992. In March 1998, Dr. Gaddy became the executive director of the Interfaith Alliance headquartered in Washington, D.C. He remained at Northminster as Pastor for Preaching and Worship. The Gaddys maintained their home in Monroe, and Dr. Gaddy commuted to Washington to carry out his responsibilities with the Alliance. During Dr. Gaddy’s tenure with the Interfaith Alliance associate pastors were called to provide pastoral care, administration and other ministerial functions in Dr. Gaddy’s absence. Those serving in that capacity were Jim Evans, Joanne Juett, Carl Gregg and Claire McKeever-Burgett.
Since our inception Northminster has welcomed and affirmed and has encouraged leadership and the sharing of personal talents from all persons regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, social status or financial ability.
What about the future?
In 2014 Dr. Gaddy retired as president of the Alliance and in October 2016 he retired from the Northminster pulpit and was named Pastor Emeritus. Dr. Steve Jolly joined us in 2017 as Intentional Interim Pastor as we began a discernment process prior to searching for a new pastor. Over a year later Rev. Claire Helton and Rev. Zachary Helton were called as new Senior Co-Pastors in December 2018 and were formally installed on March 10, 2019.
For further Reading
In 1995 Dr. Gaddy published a book about the early history of Northminster Church called Coming Home: For All Those Who Dream of a New Church that is helpful to those wanting to learn more about our church history. To borrow or purchase a copy of this book, contact the church office; You can also buy a copy of this book online:
Do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God. - Micah 6:8
The grace of God is making of us a fellowship to embody and express the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, we covenant together to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength - to love each other as we love ourselves. We further commit ourselves to:
The freedom of the individual, led by God's Spirit within the family of faith, to read and interpret the Scriptures, relying on the historical understanding by the church and on the best methods of modern biblical study.
The freedom of the local church under the authority of Jesus Christ to shape its own life and mission, call its own leadership, and ordain whom it perceives as gifted for ministry, male or female.
The larger body of Jesus Christ, expressed in various Christian traditions, and to cooperation with believers everywhere in giving full expression to the Gospel.
The servant role of leadership within the church, following the model of our Servant Lord, and to full partnership of all of God's people in mission and ministry.
Theological education in congregations, colleges, and seminaries characterized by reverence for biblical authority and respect for open inquiry and responsible scholarship.
The proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Gospels, and the call of God to all people to repentance and faith, reconciliation and hope, social and economic justice.
The principle of a free church in a free state and to the opposition to any effort by either church or state to use the other for its own purposes.