1947-1997 | Broadmoor Presbyterian Church | Shreveport, LA
Dr. Wade H. Boggs, who served First Presbyterian Church of Shreveport as pastor from 1935 to 1940, first conceived the idea of organizing a Presbyterian Church in the Broadmoor area. However, his idea did not materialize before he accepted another position and moved away. Then World War II postponed further plans.
It was not until after Dr. William A. Alexander became pastor of First Presbyterian Church in 1945, that the wheels were set in motion to organize such a church. On May 26, 1947, he called a meeting of the following people: Percy R. Johnson, William Steen, J.J. Moore, Charles D. Sammons, E.W. Ebert, Mrs. C.W. Robinson and Mrs. H.V. Bahlau, all of whom attended except Mr. Steen, who was out of town. A Steering Committee was then formed, and a letter was sent to two hundred and fifty-eight members of First Presbyterian Church living in the area of the proposed church asking them to attend a meeting on June 3, 1947, at the A.C. Steere School auditorium. The purpose was to be a discussion regarding organizing a Broadmoor Presbyterian Church. Dr. Alexander was elected temporary chairman, and Percy R. Johnson was elected temporary clerk. Approximately fifty people attended this meeting. After the meeting the Steering Committee remained to appoint committees to work on plans of organization.
On June 19, 1947, a letter signed by R.G. Lawton, Jr., Chairman of the Promotion Committee, was sent to the members of First Presbyterian Church living in Broadmoor. All interested Presbyterians were asked to meet in the Broadmoor School on the evening of June 22 to hear committee reports and discussion. Because of some misunderstanding, the school building was locked, and the meeting was held at the athletic field. At that meeting Elder C.R. Caldwell of First Presbyterian Church made the motion that the project of a Presbyterian Church in Broadmoor be begun.
A petition signed by one hundred and twenty-five people was submitted by Elder Herman Bahlau and received at Red River Presbytery at its fall meeting the following October. The Commission was then appointed by the Moderator of Presbytery to organize the church. All those who had signed the petition received a letter from Dr. Alexander announcing that on October 26 at 11 a.m. services would be held in the Broadmoor Theater on Youree Drive. Ironically, the movie showing at the time at the theater was "A Lost Week End." However, the movie marquee had been covered up for the first church meeting.
Dr. Alexander preached the first Sunday at the theater, and the Rev. Chalmers U. Hatch, assistant pastor of First Presbyterian Church, preached the following Sundays. After a short time, the Rev. Hatch became ill, and ministers from the various churches in town and chaplains from the Salvation Army and Barksdale Field filled in on Sundays until a minister was called. Even some professors from Centenary College filled in as speakers for Sunday worship services. Music for services was first provided by Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Boggs and later Miss Ollie Hanks played the piano for worship services. Members of the Commission to Organize Broadmoor Church met in Dr. W.A. Alexander's study at First Presbyterian Church, Shreveport, on November 10. In addition to Dr. Alexander, the members were Rev. T.E. Davis, Chairman, Rev. C.L. Power, Rev. C.U. Hatch and Elders Thom Wemple and C.W. Robinson. After business was attended to, the meeting was adjourned to meet at the Broadmoor School on November 16 at 2:00 p.m.
On that date in 1947, Broadmoor Presbyterian Church was officially organized at the Broadmoor School. The church became affiliated with the Presbyterian Church of the United States, Presbytery of Red River, Synod of Louisiana. Charter members numbered 123 people at the first church service; however, it was voted to keep the roll of charter membership open through December. Sixteen additional members were added to the list in the interim making a total of 139 charter members. First Presbyterian Church dismissed 89 members to become charter members of the new congregation.
The following week the members of the first church Session and Diaconate were ordained and installed by the Rev. C.U. Hatch and Elders Wemple and Robinson. Members of the first Session who were ordained were J. William Head and J. Howell Flournoy. Herman V. Bahlau, Joe E. Marshall, and William Steen, who had previously been ordained at another church, were installed. The first Diaconate consisted of Robert G. Lawton, Jr. who was ordained, and J.T. Harris, Reuben K. Lothrop, J. Archie Jarratt and James B. Reeder who were installed, having been previously ordained.
The church soon began its search for a minister, and on December 21 a pastoral call was issued to the Rev. Leland McDuffie Kennedy, Jr., associate pastor at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas, to become effective March 1, 1948. The congregation then purchased a manse at 4342 Finley Drive for the use of the minister and his family. Mr. A.C. Glassell, a deacon at First Presbyterian Church lent the Broadmoor Church $4750 as a down payment on the manse. The balance was paid off on monthly terms. Before the congregation acquired any church buildings, meetings were held at the manse. The Budget Committee presented the budget for the year in the amount of near $9,000 which was adopted.
The Men of the Church was organized on December 22, 1947, and met once a month at the church for a night meeting and "Men's Supper." They were an active group with a large attendance for a number of years. On January 11 the Women of the Church was organized at the home of Mrs. W.A. Long.
Throughout the years the Women of the Church have been an active group, and each year an annual membership tea is held.
J. Archie Jarratt was appointed the first Sunday School Superintendent, and the first Sunday School session was held on January 4, 1948 with 63 people present. On Good Friday, March 26, the first Communion was celebrated at the evening service in the auditorium of the A.C. Steere School. Mrs. William Steen and Mrs. W.A. Long provided the Communion elements in assisting the Elders.
1948| Trustees Purchase 3.3 acres of land fronting on Grover Place
In April 1948, Trustees of the church were authorized to buy 3-1/3 acres of land fronting on Grover Place between Russell and Stuart Streets for the purpose or erecting a sanctuary. Ground was broken for the new church on August 16, the first spade of earth being turned by Elder J.W. Head on a very warm day with temperature about 103 degrees. The Rev. Mr. Kennedy read from the scriptures, and greetings were brought from the First Presbyterian Church by Mr. Percy Johnson. The next day a permit was issued to the General Construction Co. to erect the church at 1915 Grover Place. The following day the congregation purchased an army chapel from Camp Livingston near Alexandria, Louisiana and moved it to the Grover Place location. Expenses for purchasing the site and buying and remodeling the building were $39,911.
The first service was held in the sanctuary on Sunday, January 2, 1949, and the building was filled to capacity. Music was provided by Charles Boggs and Mrs. Robert G. Lawton, Jr. The small frame building which seated 300 people served as the sanctuary. A seventy-five year old locomotive bell was donated to the church in 1948 by Mr. A.B. Sweeny, a Roman Catholic. Mr. Sweeny and J. Howell Flournoy, a charter member of the church and lifetime Presbyterian, were friends, and this gift was an outgrowth of their friendship. This 12 inch bell was mounted on an iron frame and placed in the belfry of the former army chapel.
The church library was begun in a corner of the army chapel by Mrs. H.W. (Marguerite) Saunders, and for several years the women of the church enjoyed a book club. The library is presently located in the Adult Education Building.
A Boy Scout hut was acquired in 1949, and the following year several surplus army barracks were purchased, providing additional office and classroom space for Sunday School at the rear of the church.
1950| First Wedding, First Choir Director, Second Pastor
The first wedding to take place in the church sanctuary was that of Margaret Towler and Bill Cowen on September 15, 1950. Margaret was the daughter of Ruth and Dick Towler, members of the church.
The first choir director, John Pierpont, was hired in June, 1951, and Mrs. Robert (Gene) Lawton served as organist. Mr. Pierpont remained until 1954 when Mrs. Barbara Budd was hired to that position.
In April 1952, Mr. Kennedy announced his decision to accept a call to a Presbyterian Church at Wichita Falls, Texas, and the following July a call was issued to the Rev. Thomas Cox Duncan of Alabama to become pastor. He and his wife Margaret and two sons arrived in September.
In the early 1950s, the Building and Grounds Committee was aware of the need for additional landscaping, and a decision was made to plant nine Live Oak trees to make the area more attractive. At the time of Elder Roy E. Witty's death on February 15, 1979, a memorial was established for the continued care of the Live Oaks. He had cared for them during his lifetime, and when he could no longer do so, a professional tree surgeon was hired to do the job.
Preparatory plans were begun in 1952 for building a Children's Educational Building, and a campaign to raise funds for the new building was launched in September 1953. Completion of the building took place the following year, and the building was consecrated in September 1994.
Membership of the church was growing so fast that the building was outgrown before it was completed. Two Sunday morning services were held in the sanctuary to accommodate the large attendance. That year the church sold the manse on Finley Drive and purchased a new manse at 220 Roma Drive.
Mrs. Wade Burnside was employed as the first Director of Christian Education, and remained until July 1955. The next year the Session approved a Day School kindergarten for four and five year olds. Mrs. V.H. Hughen became the chairman of the Board of Directors, and Mrs. Ruth Towler became its director, serving in that capacity for fourteen years. Enrollment grew from twenty-seven children and two teachers the first year to 127 pupils and a staff of seven teachers. The Day School closed in June 1970 because the need for such a kindergarten was being met by private, public and parochial schools. About 1500 children went through this program at the church.
Membership was still growing in 1956, and a Campaign Committee was formed to initiate plans for an Adult Education Building which was completed the next year. On February 2, 1958 the building was dedicated with Dean James I. McCord of Austin Seminary preaching the sermon.
That year the Session approved a Family Night meeting and the printing of a church newspaper. The church sponsored both Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops and a Mothers' Day Out program for several years. For a time annual art shows took place, and new member dinners were held.
Mrs. Marilyn Hansen was hired in January 1958, as the first full time organist and choir director. The Rev. Duncan asked that she start a choir program at the church, and under her direction three choirs were organized. Mrs. Hansen served until June 1960, and was followed by Miss Barbara Ann Locke who remained for the next fifteen years. Under Miss Locke's leadership a fourth choir was formed, and the choirs grew as the membership grew. For a period of time, Mrs. Lloyd Fauquier and Mrs. H.H. Cook served as substitute organists.
The new Adult Education Building was dedicated on February 2, 1958 with Dr. James I. McCord, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy of Religion at Austin Presbyterian Seminary preaching the sermon of dedication.
Plans were formulated for the start of a Golden Circle in 1958 to serve the interests of the senior adults of the church. One of their projects was to knit afghans for retired ministers and their families. The Golden Circle was started by Mrs. Paul (Jackie) Adams who directed this group for a number of years and was assisted by Mrs. N.B. (Elizabeth) Jackson, Jr. In more recent years a group of senior adults called "The Speeders" was formed to meet once a month for fellowship.
1960s| Membership Grows, Mortgage is Burned
By 1960, the membership had grown to 929 members with 726 people enrolled in Sunday School. The budget for that year was $74,718, and grew to $100,909 in 1966. In July Mr. Duncan asked that his pastoral relationship be dissolved so that he might accept a call to Shade's Valley Presbyterian Church at Birmingham, Alabama.
The Rev. F. Clark Williams served the church as student pastor from July 1 to October 1, 1961, and returned as assistant minister from 1964 until 1967. As part of the church's outreach program, he preached once a month at the Presbyterian Church at Keatchie, Louisiana for a six-month period. The Broadmoor Church participated in a Campus Christian Life Program in 1965 which ministered to Presbyterian students at Centenary College. Mr. Williams devoted one day each week to this ministry.
A call was issued to the Rev. Dan Frank Goodwin, Jr. of Midland, Texas, in July 1961, to become pastor of the church. He accepted the call and he and his wife Helen and children came to Broadmoor on September 1, and he was installed September 17. Dan was soon elected to the board of Evergreen Vocational School near Minden, Louisiana, a position he held for several years.
The "In Christi" group, a visitation evangelism program, was organized during the fall of that year with meetings each Monday night. Previously a group of church members called the "Andrews" met regularly at the church for visitation to prospective members.
In 1962, three of the top lay leaders in the Synod were members of the church. They were M.E. Mischler, president of the Men of the Synod of Louisiana, Wilson Magee, President of Red River Laymen, and Mrs. Charles C. (Carolyn) Rhodes, President of the Women of Red River Presbytery. The following year Charles C. (Chuck) Rhodes was elected moderator of the Synod of Louisiana.
That summer the Rev. Jack C. Parse was called to be Assistant Minister . He was installed on September 16, the sermon being preached by his father the Rev. John E. Parse. Mr. Parse remained until August 1963 when he tendered his resignation to the Session so that he could do graduate work at the School of Christian Education at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia.
The 15th Anniversary of the church was celebrated on November 14, 1962, with Dr. and Mrs. L. McD. Kennedy as guests of honor. That night a special Communion service was held. By the end of that year there were 821 communing members and a Sunday School enrollment of 659.
Mrs. Bill (Mary Lou) Miller became Director of Christian Education in October 1963, and was followed by Mrs. Hiram (Margaret) Reeves in 1969.
A Christmas pageant was planned for outdoors on December 22, 1963; however, four inches of snow fell on the church grounds on the planned date, and the program was forced indoors.
In 1964, Broadmoor Presbyterian Church sponsored the establishment of St. Andrews Presbyterian Mission Church in north Shreveport at 3912 Old Mooringsport Road. This action was sanctioned by Red River Presbytery.
The first Presbyterian minister ordained from this congregation was James C. Herring followed by Robert Lynn Simpson on July 12, 1964. In more recent years David Schaller, Karen Rogers and Valerie Hicks Moore have become ministers, all of whom grew up in the church. Pamela Henderson, a member of Broadmoor Presbyterian, is presently a ministerial candidate attending Columbia Theological Seminary at Decatur, Georgia.
While Sgt. Jack Pabody was serving in Viet Nam in 1966, he wrote a letter to his mother, Mrs. Margaret Pabody expressing concern for children at an orphanage at Nha Thrang. Mrs. Pabody informed the Women of the Church, and soon the project captured the hearts of many church members and the surrounding community who gave the project their enthusiastic support.
On March 9, 1969, a special service was held for the burning of the mortgage of the Adult Education Building and the groundbreaking for the new sanctuary. The building committee chairman for the Education Building was Richard E. Stuart, and J. Paul Anderson, Jr. served as chairman of the finance committee. Chairman of the Steering Committee for the new sanctuary was L. Frank Moore, and Jack C. Jorden, Jr. was chairman of the Building Committee.
1970s | New Sanctuary, Allen Electronic Organ, First Woman Elder
Special events and services in connection with the opening of the sanctuary were an art show and open house on night, May 16, 1970. Honored guests included Dr. R. Matthew Lynn, Moderator of General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., and former pastor, Thomas C. Duncan.
A Dedicatory Service for the newly completed sanctuary was held on Sunday, May 17. Dr. Lynn preached the sermon, and others who took part were the Rev. Dan F. Goodwin, Jr., the Rev. Thomas C. Duncan, John A. O'Neal, Moderator of the Presbytery of Red River, V. Dean Boyd, clerk of the Session, Marshall H. Walker, architect, Marvin L. Moncla, builder, Jack C. Jorden, L. Frank Moore, and H.W. Saunders, president of the Board of Trustees.
On May 19, the Rev. Dan F. Goodwin, Jr. was elected moderator of the Presbyterian Synod of Louisiana, Presbyterian Church, U.S. at a meeting held in New Orleans. For the past two years he had been a member of a committee of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church, U.S., studying the restructuring of synod boundaries.
A Dedicatory Musical Service for the new Allen electronic organ was presented by the joint youth choirs of Broadmoor Presbyterian Church and Broadmoor United Methodist Church on Sunday, May 24. A concert was presented at the Methodist Church the following week. Barbara Ann Locke directed the musical and her twin sister, Norma Jean Locke, director of the Methodist Choir, was accompanist. The following year the two choirs once again presented a folk musical service at the two churches.
When the new sanctuary was being built members were asked to donate money for new church pews. Memorial plaques with the name of the donor or donors were placed at the end of the pew near the center aisle of the church. Many other memorials were also given at this time.
Mrs. Joe (Rozena) Darwin, who had served as Director of Christian Education from 1956 until 1960, became the first woman elder in 1970, and Martha Nicol became the first woman deacon. In 1974, Karen Rogers, a tenth grade high school student, became the first youth member to serve on the Diaconate.
During Dan Goodwin's pastorate, seminary students served the church during the summers. These young men were Mike Smith in the summer of 1970, and Roger Williamson in the summer of 1971.
The final addition to the new sanctuary was completed on March 30, 1971 with the erection of the bell tower, adding grace and dignity to the edifice at a cost of $10,500. The bell used in the belfry of the old sanctuary was moved to the new bell tower.
On May 18, 1971, the 70th annual stated meeting of the Louisiana Synod assembled at the church. Dan Goodwin presided as moderator and delivered the opening address. Dr. Evelyn Green of Atlanta, Georgia, executive secretary of the Board of Women's Work of the General Assembly, was the featured speaker.
A large renovation project took place that year with the addition of a kitchen and bathrooms at the rear of the Fellowship Hall in the Adult Education Building. Men of the Church donated time to the project and $1500 was contributed through memorials and gifts.
On August 20, 1972, the Rev. J. Frederick Fife was ordained and installed as assistant pastor of the church. Dr. Prescott H. Williams, Jr., president of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary delivered the sermon. Fred remained until 1974 before tendering his resignation to accept a call as minister at John Calvin Presbyterian Church in southwest Shreveport.
The church celebrated its 25th anniversary in November 1972 by setting aside fifteen days as an expression of gratitude for God's blessings and in recognition of the many people who shared in these blessings during the past twenty-five years.
Sunday morning worship services were televised on Channel 3, KTBS TV, Shreveport, for thirteen weeks from March 4 to May 27, 1973. Many groups and individuals contributed funds to these programs. This was a new experience for the church, but wasn't tried again.
After Mr. Goodwin's resignation in 1973 to assume the pastorate of the First Presbyterian Church in Kilgore, Texas, the church was without a minister until the Rev. David Laverty was called to serve the church in January 1975. The Rev. M. Achim Daffin was soon called as associate minister of the church. On January 1, 1974, the total communicants of the church numbered 1004, the greatest period of growth in its history.
The new Presbytery of the Pines was formed on January 10, 1974 from the Presbyteries of Red River (Louisiana) and Ouachita (Arkansas) and several churches that had been in the East Arkansas Presbytery. Studies began in 1962, which led to this reorganization. Former pastor Dan Frank Goodwin played a major role in the formation of the new Presbytery.
By the time Mr. Goodwin left the pastorate, the trend was for ministers to buy their own homes, and churches furnished them housing allowances. A decision was then made for the church to sell the manse on Roma Drive, and on March 20, 1975 the home was sold for $37,500. The pastor's house allowance was added to the church budget, which allowed the new minister, Mr. Laverty, to purchase a home for himself and his family.
Melinda Holy served as interim organist in 1978 before Jerome L. Wells was hired as organist-choirmaster. Mr. Wells remained until 1994, and during the time that he served the church, a new twenty-seven rank Schantz pipe organ was installed and dedicated. Upon his resignation, Mrs. Janet Colbert served as interim choir director until December 1994, at which time Laura Wilson succeeded her as interim.
In 1979, the old sanctuary which had been used in recent years as a Fellowship Hall, was donated to Caddo Correctional Institute for use as a chapel and recreation/education building.
Roberta Dodds Ingersoll began work as Director of Christian Education on September 2, 1979. She remained for several years, and after her resignation, Barbara Collinsworth assumed the duties of Education Associate.
That year Arthur Sykes tendered his resignation as sexton after 29 years due to health reasons. The congregation was most appreciative of his many years of faithful service, and showed their appreciation by honoring him with a plaque designating him as "Sexton Emeritus" at a special service of recognition in the sanctuary on September l6.
1980-82| Church Sponsors Vietnamese Families, New Activities Building
Members of the congregation sponsored the Kha family from Vietnam in December 1979, and the Nguyen family from Indonesia in 1980. Many people in the church were involved in the refugee program which was a rewarding experience.
A new activities building was completed in 1980 which houses a multi- purpose gymnasium/fellowship hall and kitchen. New offices were also added as a part of this complex. Johnny DeWitt was chairman of the Building Committee. Others serving on the committee were Al Chalupnik, Nancee Crossan, Burney Durham, Diane Mapp, Mattie Shelton and Phil Sherwin.
February 1983 - Requisite Number of Presbyteries Approve the Union Plan
In 1982, after many years of having both a bench of elders and board of deacons, the church with smaller membership, became a "one board" church, thus eliminating the board of deacons and going to a unified board of elders only.
Visitation has been a vital part of the life of Broadmoor Presbyterian Church, and Sarah Bahlau spent much of her time in this work. Mrs. Hinton Steen also gave much of her time to the church as librarian over a long period of time. John Flynn served the church for many years as treasurer of the church as did Harold Walters. Others who have served as treasurer are John H. Putman, R.K. Lothrop, David L. Mulford, William J. Derrick and William J. (Jeff) Cole. Fred White and Ray Deming each served as assistant treasurer for a time. Mattie Shelton, Sandy DeWitt and Mary Jane Ring have served the church as bookkeepers.
Secretaries of the church have included Arline Johnson, Mrs. Murff O'Neal, Jr., Mrs. Marveleen Clinebell, Mrs. E. Russell (Frances) Smith, Mrs. Mickey Hill, Mrs. Wayne Overman, Mrs. Janelle Washburn, Mrs. Wilma Eaton, Mrs. Janice Proffitt, Mrs. Mattie Shelton and Mrs. Mary Jane Ring. Mrs. Barbara Hicks and Mrs. Juanita Cawthon served as part-time membership secretaries. The present secretary is Mrs. Sharon Helstowski.
Sextons in addition to Arthur Sykes, included Wheeler Sanders, Sidney Chism, Donnie Fuller and Rickey Sumlin. Assistant sextons have been Johnny L. Ross, Billy Ray Banks, Harold Henry, and Dave Baker.
The Rev. David Laverty tendered his resignation on April 1, 1991 to accept a position as Associate Presbyter of Pines Presytery with offices at Ruston, Louisiana. He remained there until accepting a call as pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Alva, Oklahoma on November 1, 1993.
Dr. Norman Campbell of Donaldsonvile, Georgia was called to accept the pastorate in 1992, and served until his death in February 1995. Several months later the Rev. Richard O. Knott of Minden, Louisiana came to serve as interim minister and remained in that capacity until January 1997.
On October 18, 1992, the church celebrated its 45th birthday during the Sunday Morning Worship Service and the Fellowship Luncheon following the service. Leaders in the worship service were Dr. R. Matthew Lynn, former pastors Dr. Dan F. Goodwin, Jr. and the Rev. David A. Laverty. The sermon was preached by Dr. Goodwin with a number of former members in attendance.
Through the years the church has had a strong Christian Education program. It has sponsored retreats, church camps and Vacation Bible School each year. The church has had Family Night Suppers and church lunches monthly. It has helped to support Mr. and Mrs. R.K. Robinson, missionaries to Korea, and Mr. and Mrs. W.D. Morriss, missionaries to Japan. For several years the church had a Mother's Day Out program, and in 1986 Jill McCullough served as its coordinator. A strong MDO program has been in existence for many years now.
Dr. R. Matthew Lynn, who had served as Parish Associate for the past seven years passed away on January 10, 1996, in Dallas, Texas. The Rev. Kenneth L. Christy, who had served with Dr. Lynn, continues to serve in that capacity.
On January 5, 1997, the congregation voted to call the Rev. Steven Wakefield Dyer as minister. He and his family moved to Shreveport from Greenville, South Carolina, and he assumed his duties as minister on March 1.
Note: A church history from 1997 to 2022 will be published in connection with the church's 75th anniversary celebration in November 2022.
Broadmoor Presbyterian Church Booklet, 1960.
Broadmoor Presbyterian Church bulleltins.
Conversation with Mrs. R.G. (Gene) Lawton.
Conversation with Mrs. H.W. (Marguerite) Saunders.
Fifteenth Anniversary Service Church History.
Presbytery Minutes of Red River Presbytery, 1936-1950. Microfilm Reel 74M. Department of History (Montreat), Presbyterian Church (USA),
Montreat, North Carolina.
Women of the Church Histories. Broadmoor Presbyerian Church, Shreveport, Louisiana.
1972 Church Directory.
1982 Pictorial Church Directory.
1986 Church Directory.
1991 Church Directory.