Who We Are
We believe that who are are and what we believe is most evident in how we live, so we encourage you to look at our weekly newsletters or sermons for the best idea of what we're about!
To "do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with God."
When Northminster was founded, we decided to adopt the covenant of our denominational partner, The Alliance of Baptists. It reads:
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.
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 allianceofbaptists.org for more information. For more information on where our denomination has come down on various issues and cultural conversations, see allianceofbaptists.org/about/statements.
"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.
In 2014 Dr. Gaddy retired as president of Interfaith Alliance, and in October 2016 he retired from the Northminster pulpit and was named Pastor Emeritus. For almost two years Dr. Steve Jolly served as Intentional Interim Pastor as he led us in a discernment process concerning our future prior to calling a new pastor. In December of 2018 Rev. Claire and Rev. Zachary Helton were called and began serving as our co-pastors. In June of 2021 they announced that they were returning to school and would be pursuing new career paths. Rev. Jillian Hankamer began serving as Northminster’s Senior Pastor in July 2022.
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.
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.