New Union Heritage pastor follows calling to Bogalusa

Published 10:30 am Monday, September 22, 2014

Nestled in a beautiful, quiet area just outside of town on Caroline Drive is a place of new beginnings. Union Heritage Baptist Church has moved to its new location just off Louisiana Highway 10 and is in the initial stage of building the facility they pray will be a beacon to the entire community.

The Rev. Joe Porter and his wife, Mary, are excited about the opportunities for ministry here in Bogalusa. Hailing from Greenville, S.C., the Porters have been serving God as ministers for 30 years.

Porter served as a bi-vocational minister for many years, devoting his time to both his ministry and second job. Mary also spent several years teaching kindergarten in addition to her role as pastor’s wife and mother to their two sons.

The Porters are proud grandparents of six grandsons and one granddaughter.

Mary laughingly said, “We do have one daughter, our cat, Charlie!”

Porter felt called to missions at a young age. He attended Tabernacle Baptist Bible College in Greenville and patiently waited for the Lord to open a door for him.

With no doors opening for mission work, Porter prayed and simply said, “Lord, what do you want me to do.”

Porter stated, “One day it hit me. I was called to be a pastor. Mission work came along with my ministry of pastoral work. My heart has always been to lead my congregation to grow and serve the Lord more fully. We serve God when we see and meet the needs of His children.”

The Porters have served in several churches over the years in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Although they had a wonderful experience pastoring Tri City Baptist in Westminster, S.C., for eight years, Porter felt the Lord tell him his time at Tri City had come to an end.

Without knowing what the future held, Porter resigned his pastorate on Oct. 13 of last year. The pastor at Union Heritage also felt he was to resign from his position in October.

Porter said, “I was without a pastorate and Union Heritage was without a pastor. God always has a plan even when we don’t.

“My vision for Union Heritage is to see it grow spiritually. We are in the planning phase of building a new sanctuary and will break ground soon, but more than anything else I desire to see the whole community get right with the Lord,” said Porter.

The call to minister the gospel of Christ has been passed down from generation to generation in the Porter family. The Rev. Joe Porter, great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather of the present day Rev. Joe Porter, stood in the aisle of his church pleading for people to come to Christ. He cried out for his congregation to accept Jesus and know Christ’s love and forgiveness. He took his last breath and died in the aisle of the church. It was quite a dramatic beginning for what has become a family tradition.

Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by worship at 10:30 a.m. Sunday evening service is held at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening service begins at 6:30 p.m.