The Cajundome Convention Center felt like a place of worship Sunday evening when more than 1,500 supporters and city and state stakeholders gathered with more than two dozen pastors and church leaders for the first ever Senior Pastoral Alliance of Southwest Louisiana induction ceremony.
The event, organized by Destiny of Faith Christian Center Church pastor Rev. Ken Lazard, opened with moving gospel music and recognition of local elected officials and law enforcement leaders in the crowd with a focused purpose — to love, lead, unite, reach. Their efforts began with fanfare Sunday night and a focus to better north Lafayette and beyond by joining forces to “celebrate the important role the faith-based community represents in Acadiana and how vital it is to engage the community in stimulating economic development, community revitalization and political accountability,” according to the group’s mission.
Newly elected governor John Bel Edwards sent a rousing collection of remarks to be delivered by Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development Secretary Shawn Wilson opening with a passage from Matthew about the story of a house built on the sand with a shaky foundation.
“It’s time for Louisiana to get our house in order,” Wilson said.
View a gallery of images from the event here.
Wilson warned the group of the looming $750 million-plus shortfall coming in the budget with a greater deficit next year (nearly $2 billion).
“We can together overcome whatever hurdles to move Louisiana forward,” Wilson said asking the group for understanding as sacrifices and cuts come and charging them as the church to care for those who will be impacted by cuts.
Moving Louisiana and Lafayette forward was the call of the evening. A representative for City-Parish President Joel Robideaux — Marcus Bruno who handles government and constituent relations — lauded the group for consolidating their efforts and asked for time and unity as the new leadership in Lafayette moves forward.
“Give us your time, most of all give us your prayers,” he said.
There was certainly no shortage of those on Sunday evening.