Tag Archives: birthday

Longtime Missionary Turns 100

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Photo: Bob Moss and Ernest LaFont

By Carl Stagner

1916. That was the year former missionary Ernest LaFont was born. Well-known across the movement throughout the 20th century, he and his wife Grace were regarded by both pastors and laypeople, at home and abroad, as exemplary pillars of the faith. Chances are pretty good that either you are someone who was blessed by the ministry of the LaFonts, or you know someone who was. From Panama to Egypt, to Lebanon and finally Washington State, the widespread reach of this Pacific Bible College (now Warner Pacific) graduate over the span of a lifetime has not ceased, but continues to this day. Family member and friend Bob Moss of Church of God Ministries knows firsthand the incredible impact of Ernest LaFont on the movement, and is honored to offer just a glimpse of the harrowing circumstances that shaped this man of God. Continue reading

Hattie Downer: 100th Birthday Highlights Ministry Impact

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Photo: Benny Santiago embraces Hattie Downer at her 100th birthday celebration. Benny’s was one of countless lives changed because of the ministry of Hattie Downer. Photo credit: Richard LaGuerre.

By Carl Stagner

She was the first African American woman to serve the Church of God as a home missionary. She traveled up and down the East Coast, starting Sunday schools and other children’s programs for churches. Ultimately, she made her base of ministry operations on the crime-stricken, drug-infested streets of Brooklyn, New York. There she preached the gospel to local characters with nicknames like “Killer” and “Capone.” She even extended grace multiple times to delinquents who would break in and steal from the church she led. This pillar of faith, rock of endurance, and epitome of compassion has a name: Hattie Downer. She celebrated her one hundredth birthday in September, and many who have been touched by her ministry came to honor her and share stories of personal impact. Continue reading