ETHEL, La. (BRPROUD) – A well-known church in East Feliciana Parish is celebrating a huge milestone.

“When you think about Evergreen, you think about what an evergreen plant is. It is a flower or a plant that’s always growing,” said Jonathan S. Hill, senior pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church.

That’s exactly what Evergreen Baptist Church is doing, continuing to expand its outreach to the community by hosting events and providing helpful resources. Especially during the coronavirus crisis.

“I never want individuals to relegate the church just to being four walls of a building on Sunday mornings or some mid-week experience. But it’s something that connects us each and every day of our lives.”

Evergreen is celebrating 160 years of serving the Ethel community of East Feliciana Parish.

Alma Alexander, a fourth-generation church member, says it’s a blessing and warm feeling to see her church thriving decades later.

“It made me think back to my ancestors and I can only imagine what they would be thinking if they could actually see what’s going on now,” said Alexander.

Jonathan Hill, the pastor at Evergreen and an East Feliciana Parish native, says the church is the nucleus of the Black community. 

“It is one of the few places we own and can all our own. It is a safe place. It is a place where people can gather to celebrate various things. To find comfort in difficult moments of life,” said Hill.

Prior to Hill becoming a senior pastor in 2021, former pastor Morris Jackson led the congregation for many years. Hill says there’s pressure to continue building on such a strong foundation that’s been set.

“The Black minister holds a high regard in the Black community. Has a high level of respect. At point the Black minister was often the most educated, the most well-respected individual in the community,” said Hill.

Another major component of the Black church is music. It’s a powerful element that brings the congregation closer together.

“It play a big role because we as the choir get the church ready for the preacher. Different songs you can sing will minister your spirit and get the church going for when Pastor Hill ready,” said Brooks.

Evergreen is not only a pillar of the community but a place that holds value and life-long memories for many families. As the leader of his church, Hill says he feels a sense of responsibility.

“This church has been a part of this community and I believe this speaks volumes to the tenacity of the individuals who’ve been connected to this church. And it’s my plan to make sure this legacy continues to live on into the future,” said Hill.

To learn more about Evergreen Baptist Church or for a list of events visit their website.