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How does our youth group go on after the death of Pastor Roger Templeton…?

Our youth are so important! They are the future of our church. They will be the ones that tell their friends and family about how our church has helped them build a relationship with GOD. We can only hope and pray that more youth will want to join in on this amazing experience. Today’s youth are not the same youth from 10 or even 5 years ago. We are competing with social media, sports, and other extracurricular activities. So how do we inspire them? How to we keep them connected?

These questions were all I thought about when I planned out my youth classes. How could I do this? I was struggling with not having enough youth in my class. I was feeling defeated and discouraged. I was questioning myself and questioning Kandie and Pastor Roger for appointing me to do this. So, with all these questions, I met with Pastor Roger the week before he passed away and I shared my thoughts, asked him questions and asked for guidance. He just smiled and said… “It’s not about how many youth are in your class, it is about how you have moved them, connected with them and shown them how to have a relationship with GOD”. His last words were, “GOD has chosen you for this, you were meant to do this. I believe in you, I am here to encourage and guide you”. So, leaving this lunch I felt like I could conquer the world and I was going to regroup and start fresh.

The news of Pastor Roger’s death the following week, devastated me as it did everyone else. All those questions and doubts that I had before came rolling back. How could I possibly do this without him? His encouragement. His guidance. 

So, after about 2 weeks of going back and forth. His words kept repeating. “GOD CHOSE ME”. GOD did choose me, and I am confident that my group will only become stronger and we will continue to grow.

Confirmation and all other activities that Pastor Roger had scheduled will be revisited after the first of the year. For now, we will build a stronger relationship as a group and with GOD and strengthen our hearts after the loss of Pastor Roger. 

Jessica Villemarette; Youth Leader GUMC

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Reverend Roger Hugh Templeton, 53, died on October 1, 2019 of suicide. We ask that you open your heart and offer compassion without judgment for those that suffer from illness rooted in stigma, trauma, or shame. This was how Roger practiced ministry. Sadly, he succumbed to severe depression, leaving behind heartbroken family, friends, and colleagues. Roger was born on August 28, 1966, in Opelousas, Louisiana. He is preceded in death by his father Herman, beloved mother Elaine, and brother-in-law Daniel. He is survived by his wife Pam, daughter Bethany (Cameron), stepson Atticus, daughter Penelope, brother Herman Jr. (Laura), brother John, sister Lillie, and many very loved family members and friends. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019, at Gretna United Methodist Church on Whitney Avenue at 1:00 p.m. Visitation will be from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. Donations may be made in Roger's name to either Gretna United Methodist Church or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Personal condolences may be sent to the Templeton family at Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, LA, is in charge of funeral arrangements.

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Natalie Ambrose Philip is Gretna United Methodist Church's new Staff Pastor and Parish Relations Committee Chairlady. She replaces Melanie Robinson, who has served as the chair of the SPPRC for three years. She is now GUMC's interim director of Mosaic Worship. Natalie Ambrose Philips will serve for the remainder of the year.

GUMC Staff Pastor and Parish Relations Committee Chairlady
Natalie Ambrose Phillips

She has been a member of GUMC for the past three years. She comes to GUMC with a wealth of knowledge of organizational leadership for both nonprofit and for-profit agencies. Natalie is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in counseling individuals with mood disorders, substance abuse, and relationship issues. She is a Clinical Director of a mental health facility and is also in private practice. Natalie is currently writing her dissertation to obtain a Ph.D. in Professional Counseling. She looks forward to serving in this capacity with the hopes to provide a new voice to the church.

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