Have you ever heard of Rev. Lea Joyner? She was a United Methodist pastor who served in north Louisiana. For the last 32 years of her life, she was the pastor of Southside United Methodist Church in Monroe. For ten years prior to coming to Lake Charles, I was so honored to serve as the senior pastor of this church, that was renamed in her memory.
Rev. Lea Joyner was a faithful pastor with an incredible work ethic. She never married. Her life was fully and completely devoted to the church and the work of Christ.
She founded Southside Methodist Church in Monroe in 1952. Under her leadership the church grew to over 2,000 members. In 1985, Rev. Joyner was murdered late one Sunday evening in the church parking lot by a mentally-troubled man. The church and community mourned her death. Over 3,000 people attended her funeral at the Civic Center in Monroe. But what a legacy she left behind. A legacy of pastoral excellence. Of caring for the needy. Of persistence and faith. Of devotion to Jesus Christ. In so many ways she was a trailblazer for women in the ministry.
In my office I have a picture of Rev. Joyner. I sure think about her a lot. I am so thankful to have served the church that she started. She continues to inspire me. I sure want to be like her.
This weekend Lea Joyner Memorial United Methodist Church in Monroe will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of her birth. What a precious gift God gave to us through her life. I am so thankful today for the wonderful saints of God who have gone before us . . . and have shown us the way. God bless you, Rev. Joyner!