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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Farewell, Kenneth Paul

The disenfranchised and those who never have to worry about much of anything gathered Sunday at the Undercroft of Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal Church.

The church is where many go to church. This time, though, they stopped by to say farewell to church pastor, the Rev. Kenneth Paul, who is retiring after almost 40 years serving the gem of a downtown church. It provides a spot of beauty as well as spiritual leadership in a blighted area.

The farewell reception was Sunday right after church.

Paul preaches his last sermon as church rector Sunday. Though he will still be around for he was named Rector Emeritus and will be an advisor for the Holy Cross Endowment for Community Service.

During his years of ministry here, he served the needy, homeless and those voices not often heard, said Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover, in a proclamation honoring Paul and read by church member Shreveport City Councilman Monty Walford.

The church is a home to everyone, said member Cara Derrick. "It is home to black, white, gay, straight ... everyone is welcome," she added.

And, Paul. "He is committed to social justice. He is truly committed to social activism," said Derrick.

"This is a community of acceptance of all who come in the door," said Edward Cloyd.

Paul stories are legend, but he told one on himself. A couple of street people wanted to marry.

He agreed to perform the ceremony. And called upon the late Bobbie Thompson, the then owner of the Corner Lounge — just down the street — to help. She acquired a wedding dress for the bride and hosted the reception in the Undercroft.

I, too, wish Kenneth well. I was a young reporter right out of college covering religion some 40 years ago, when I met him and wrote a story on him and his ministry.


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