May 16, 2008 -- "Wesley United Methodist Church"

"All hail the power of Jesus' name!" sings Janice Johnson, a member of the historic church. She perfectly sets the tone for a story on Wesley United Methodist Church.

For 142 years Wesley has served the faithful in historic Beauregard Town from its home at 544 Government Street. Today's church was built in 1966 after hurricane Betsy heavily damaged the old structure. They literally built the new church around the old--then preserved the old bell, a salute to a century of worshipers. But the building may be the least important part of any church's identity. Pastor Andrew Goff says Wesley is known throughout Baton Rouge for "Service to the community, its willingness to serve the present age stands out in my mind as some of the things that we are proud of here."

Wesley's ministry has always reached out to the community. One example of this outreach is the kits they happily give to homeless people. Since 1866 God's will on earth has been served by Wesley United Methodist Church.

And what better way to end than just the way in which we began? Janice Johnson concludes the old hymn of praise. "Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of All!"

Wesley is also the only African American church in Baton Rouge with a pipe organ. Its congregation has included such well known people as author Ernest Gaines, who wrote

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

, and Federal Judge Ralph Tyson.