Despite losing her granddaughter shortly after the child’s first birthday and almost losing her son in the same tragic accident, Melody J. James, wife of Ernest C. James, pastor of Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church here, stood strong in her faith, never giving up as her son lingered in a coma for a month.
Editor’s note: Second in a series of notable pastors’ wives across Louisiana.
Pastors and vocational ministers, if you think your wife is notable, call the Message at 318-442-7728.
SHREVEPORT – Despite losing her granddaughter shortly after the child’s
first birthday and almost losing her son in a tragic accident, Melody
J. James, wife of Ernest C. James, pastor of Bethesda Missionary
Baptist Church here, stood strong in her faith, never giving up as her
son lingered in a coma for a month.
In July 1991, three children and three adults slept as carbon monoxide
filled their house. All three children lost their lives. The three
adults, including Patrick James, survived, despite his grim
“The doctors told her to prepare for her son’s funeral,” Pastor James
said. “But her strong faith allowed her to put her fear for her
son and grief for her granddaughters aside in order to minister to her
Doctors predicted that given the amount of carbon monoxide he’d
ingested, that if Patrick survived, he would remain a vegetable for the
rest of his life.
“But none of that happened,” said Pastor James. “Through all of
that [Melody] kept things together, and I love her for that.”
Never allowing anyone with less than a positive attitude near Patrick,
Melody herself never approached her son’s bedside with open grief, but
rather showered him with love and prayer.
A year later, Patrick was almost fully recovered from his ordeal.
Besides having a faith of steel, Melody also takes an active part in her husband’s ministry.
“She’s my partner,” he said. She teaches youth and teens in
Sunday School, and is also a director of youth ministry and director of
missions at Bethesda, a new church plant that was organized on Easter
Besides her service to the church, Melody also serves her family,
taking care of her mother who has been ill and confined to a wheelchair
for well over a year now, said Alisa Adams, member at Bethesda.
“She’s our church’s first lady,” Adams said. “She’s got a
wonderful spirit. Anytime we need anything at all, we can call on
her. She’s always there for us.”
“We will be married 40 years April 9, 2007,” said Pastor James. The
couple met and married their senior year in high school. “She was
a backsliding Catholic, and I was a backsliding Baptist. We came
together and she acccepted my faith. We’ve been ministering together
for 25 years.”
The couple has three children, 11 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
“The secret to any pastor is to have a good, strong wife,” Pastor James said. “I love her for that.”
Bi-vocational pastor’s wife exhibits godliness
COLFAX – The congregation at Bethel Baptist loves their pastor’s wife,
Trudy Daniel, and they told her so on Sunday, Oct. 1 by presenting her
with a bouquet, a slideshow that chronicled her service to her family
and church, and a promise to send her to the Ministers Wives’ Retreat
at Tall Timbers at the end of the month.
The service itself, which began with the baptism of six-year-old Emily
Williams, bore evidence of Trudy Daniel’s devotion to her congregation:
she helped lead Emily to the Lord.
“Just a week ago, 6-year-old Emily Williams was asking her mom about
salvation,” Pastor Daniel said. “Emily’s mom talked with her and
asked if she would like to talk to the preacher. Emily finally
said she would really like to talk to Mrs. Trudy.”
Emily and her mother arrived at church early, hoping to find Trudy, he
said. Little Emily followed Trudy around, helping out, and then they
went into Trudy’s classroom where they talked at length about how Jesus
saves and then prayed together. The very next Sunday, Emily made a
profession of faith.
Trudy also has a love for the elderly in the congregation, said Pastor
Daniel, explaining how she once personally recruited two young deacons
to escort the elder deacons, now in their 80s, and deacon emeritus,
along with their wives, for a Deacon’s Banquet she had prepared.
Involving herself in missions beyond her church, Trudy also recently
traveled to Fellowship Baptist Church in Prairieville with other
members to help in erecting that congregation’s first building.
Assigned the job of cutting 2x4s, she spent the better part of a day
hauling, cutting and stacking boards with two other ladies.
Trudy did not marry a preacher, Pastor Daniel said. Rather, she has had
to adapt to her husband’s calling, along with a substantial income
reduction, after she had been married to him for 16 years. But she has
embraced the role as her own ministry, the pastor said. She not
only serves the Lord through loving her congregation and the world, but
also her husband.
“Trudy doesn’t let a day go past without telling me that she loves me,”
Pastor Daniel said. “No matter how tired or no matter what she is
dealing with, she always manages to show undivided attention and
concern about my day. She never seems to think of our busy-ness as a
burden … just opportunities to minister for the Lord. She is the most
unselfish person I know.”
Once, with just a few words, she was able to win over a pastor search
committee and find another way to deepen her husband’s love and honor
for her, Pastor Daniel said.
“Asked by the committee, ‘Mrs. Daniel, how would you see your role as
the preacher’s wife here?’ Trudy replied,‘My role would be to keep the
preacher happy. And, I promise you, I can do that job very well!’” The
pastor smiled at the memory.
Trudy also pours herself into her job as head of the Science Department
at Tioga High School, where she has taught science for the last 18
“She recently completed and turned in all the requirements to be
eligible to receive the National Board Certified Teacher designation, a
highly acclaimed and exclusive designation in the teaching profession,”
Pastor Daniel said.
Married on Nov. 6, 1971, Trudy is a graduate of Rapides High School and
Lousiana College; she is certified to teach math, chemistry and
physics. She and Pastor Daniel have two children and two
grandchildren, with another on the way.
Pastor’s wife fills in for husband
LAFAYETTE – Need a fill-in for a teacher? How about a kitchen worker? A
driver? Choir member? Place to stay? Visitor for shut-ins?
Counselor? Bringer of cheer?
Then you need Rosalie Hammett Richardson. She can do almost anything
that needs to be done in a church, and she can do it with a smile, her
husband and family say.
“If there’s a loose end anywhere, a gap somewhere, she’s pretty adaptable,” said Barbara Harvey of her mother.
Robert Richardson, Rosalie’s husband and semi-retired interim pastor at
Duson Baptist just west of Lafayette, said his wife never balked when
he, at 29, surrendered to the ministry.
Despite having three young children at home, she simply said,
“’Whatever it takes; we’ll be able to handle it,’” Pastor Richardson
“She has supported me in every way possible,” he said. “She accepted
that we might have to sell our home. She never had a negative response.
She is just as dedicated and faithful today in our ministry as she was
at the time I was ordained.”
Working two part-time jobs, Rosalie also attended seminary with her
husband, earning a three-year certificate in Religious Education.
She received her diploma the same time Robert Richardson received his master of divinity degree in 1958.
The couple, married 62 years, have four grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.
Judie Barnette, a member at Oak Hill Baptist Church in Plain Dealing
remembers the Richardsons from their time in the pastorate there more
than 20 years ago and described how instrumental Rosalie was in
organizing and helping to lead the RAs.
“She would challenge the boys and encourage them in a way they never
resented,” Barnette said. “Even when some would try [her]
patience, she never showed her anger.”
“She’s just so supportive in so many ways and so quietly so,” said
Wanda Carleton, member at First Lafayette, where the Richardsons are
She’s also been known to teach Sunday school in her husband’s stead,
Carleton said. “She’ll give up choir, which she loves, to meet a need.
She’s just there for us. She’s so kind. If we’re frustrated, she never
gets bent out of shape. She just consoles us and leads us through.”
One of 15 children, perhaps Rosalie mastered the ability to adapt early on.
Her father, who was married three times and widowed twice, collected
children along the way: three from his first marriage; eight from
his second – three of whom were stepchildren; and then four more
stepchildren from his third marriage. In all there were eleven girls
and four boys.
Such a heterogeneous family no doubt affected her sense of humor, the pastor said.
One Christmas, a mysterious gift was left for him under the tree, he said. Opening it, he discovered a Chinese gong.
“My youngest child said, ‘Daddy that’s so you don’t have to yell “Rosalie!” Just hit the gong and she’ll come running.’”
Harvey also remembered.
“Both of us girls were with her when we bought the gong,” Harvey said.
“She was in on it. She could see the humor in it.”