August: Cooperation of church, state helps in crisis

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016

As I once heard mentioned in a movie line, “a tornado can be described as the finger of God.”

Others prefer to refer to it as “Mother Nature at work.” Either way, it is good that after the events of Feb. 23 that “Separation of Church and State” became “Cooperation of Church and State.”

Our community should be proud as the response to disaster was a joint effort between the government entities of St. John the Baptist Parish and the faith-based community.

I have been personally blessed to see the out-pouring of support from local, regional and state Governmental agencies, as well as, local, regional, state and national faith-based organizations.

While government responded with restoring electricity, clearing roadways and assisting the affected with medical, fire or security needs, the faith-based community and organizations such as Red Cross and Catholic Charities (to name a few) were assisting with shelter, food and comfort needs.

Groups, such as Living Word Church of Houma, came loaded with items to distribute to those with needs and fully prepared to cook immediately upon arrival.

Thank you to Parish President Robottom, who shared the vision of a joint partnership between government and the faith-based community. That vision came to fruition fully on this past week.

I commend Dana Milioto who served as the liaison between government leadership and the faith-based leaders, who worked together so wonderfully to coordinate our joint efforts.

Thank you to Sheriff Tregre for making his department available to work with the faith-based community and for their excellent work.

Thank you to Mr. Kerry Watkins of the Recreation Department for his staff and efforts (especially in driving the ice truck to deliver supplies to the 4 Pod locations).

Thank you to Pastor Checkerz Williams, who has serves as co-chair of the faith-based coalition here in St. John.

There were so many organizations and individuals who contributed to this effort that it would be impossible for me to name them all without missing someone or some organization, but I want to personally extend a big “THANK YOU” to all who contributed and assisted in this great response effort.

St. John, we should be proud to know that such people are in our midst.

Isn’t it amazing after such a divisive and challenging election season, this event allowed us to put aside our differences and come together “as one” for the betterment of our community.

No Black, no White, no Rich, no Poor, no Republican, No Democrat, no Baptist, no Catholic — just the people of St. John looking out for the greater good of the community.

Again, no “Separation of Church and State,” but “Cooperation between Church and State.” As it is written, “by this men will know that you are mine, if you have love one for another.”

As Louis Armstrong would say “What A Wonderful World It Would Be!!” To God Be The Glory!!

The Rev. Donald R. August Sr. is pastor of Rising Star Baptist Church. He can be reached at