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TBN Hosting February 23rd Banquet to Honor New Orleans Pastors for Their Tireless Relief Ministry to Victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita


EVENT: Sonrise in New Orleans
WHEN: February 23, 2006, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM
WHERE: Windsor Court Hotel, 300 Gravier Street, New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (February 17, 2006) --- On February 23rd, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the world’s largest religious network and America’s most watched faith channel, will honor New Orleans area pastors for their tireless ministry and relief work in the aftermath of Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita. The event, dubbed “Sonrise in New Orleans,” will take place at New Orleans’ Windsor Court Hotel from 3 to 5 p.m., and will feature guest speakers Bishop Paul Morton from Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans, noted Christian author Tommy Tenney, the Rev. Charles Green from New Orleans’ Faith Church, and Don Tipton of the international relief agency Friend Ships.

During the event TBN will also officially announce the launch of the TBN Network 24 hours per day in New Orleans on Cox Communications Digital Channel 335.

A live taping of TBN’s “Praise The Lord” program will follow the banquet at 7:00 p.m., hosted by Bishop Paul Morton at Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church, 2308 S. Liberty St., New Orleans.

“Sonrise in New Orleans is a special step TBN is taking to honor the pastors whose sacrificial ministry and relief efforts have made such a difference in and around New Orleans,” said Amy Fihn, TBN’s manager for Cable Affiliate Promotions. “We’ve heard story after story of how these wonderful men and women of God have worked tirelessly to bring healing and restoration, not just to their own members, but to the community at large.”

Dr. Charles Green, founding pastor of Faith Church in New Orleans and a leader in the local faith community, noted that many congregations and pastors reached out to storm victims even as they were dealing with the damage and destruction of their own church facilities and homes. Green’s own church and home were flooded by the storm, and his congregation has pulled together to continue ministering – even without some seemingly essential services. “Over five months after the storm, there is still no electricity at our Faith Church in eastern New Orleans, no telephone service, and no promise as to when either of these will be available,” Green related.

Nonetheless, said Green, even in their own need, pastors and congregations have made a huge difference in the aftermath of Katrina. “It truly was the Church that showed up after the storm,” recalled Green. “Spiritual groups that had been practically unknown before Katrina were helping to feed thousands every day. No one seemed to care who got the credit as long as people were served.”

Faith Church, along with Green’s own Harvest Ministries to the World, distributed multiplied thousands of dollars of dollars in both money and supplies to homeless people and those with no income or means of support. “We made sure people had food and clothing, but our burden was to put cash funds in their hands, to be used where they needed it,” said Green.

One of those largely unknown groups Green spoke of was the international relief organization Friend Ships, based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Hours after Katrina’s final assault, Friend Ships founder Don Tipton sailed out of Lake Charles with one of two ships loaded with relief supplies for victims of the storm.

Tipton recalled the scene of devastation and chaos he and his team witnessed as their ship the Hope made its way up the Mississippi past downtown New Orleans. “It was like entering a third world country at war,” recalled Tipton. “Along with the terrible destruction that covered the area, military helicopters swarmed the skies, and Navy ships and Coast Guard vessels patrolled the waters.”

With the help of over $100,000 and a Bell JetRanger helicopter (nicknamed “Wings of Love”) donated by TBN, Tipton and his team of volunteers quickly went to work, setting up headquarters for feeding victims and providing them with emergency relief supplies. Tipton emphasizes that the hearts of people were touched as their needs were met by people who really cared. “The key in the whole outreach effort was the Church showing the love of God in a tangible way,” explained Tipton, “with food, clothing, and other needs met, and then offering prayer and encouragement with it.”

One congregation hit hard by the storm was Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church. Before Hurricane Katrina Greater St. Stephen had three thriving locations where members worshipped and fellowshipped.

Presiding Bishop Paul Morton recalled that while the disaster destroyed the largest of those locations, as well as a 72 unit housing development owned by the church, and scattered many of the church’s members, the tight-knit community never lost hope. “We had to come back and we had to come back strong,” said Morton, who also oversees the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International (FGBCFI). “Although we have all experienced loss, God has abundantly supplied all our needs and Greater St. Stephen will continue being here to help because ministry is about meeting the needs of people.”

Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, Bishop Morton traveled to communities like Baton Rouge, Houston, Dallas, Memphis, and Atlanta to check on and encourage hurricane evacuees. Under his direction FGBCFI sent over $800,000 worth of food and supplies to church-based distribution centers that were assisting evacuees, and Morton himself helped to raise another $1 million for congregations directly impacted by the disaster.

Referring to the Scripture describing the “Light that lightens the life of every person coming into the world,” Pastor Charles Green noted, “The churches of Greater New Orleans, the pastors and the people of God brought that light throughout this whole difficult time. Nothing will ever be the same.”

He added that the launch of the TBN television network in New Orleans represents a huge blessing for the local faith community. “It will be the first time that the New Orleans area has been able to get TBN 24 hours a day,” he said. “That will mean the ‘Light of the World’ being ministered to many thousands of Louisiana people.”

The banquet is free for pastors and one guest. For more information on Sonrise in New Orleans or to register for the event, visit, or call 619-546-7606.

About TBN

TBN is the world’s largest religious network and America’s most watched faith channel. Each day TBN offers 24 hours of commercial-free inspirational programming that appeals to people in a wide variety of denominations. TBN now reaches every major continent via 47 satellites and more than 12,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. In the United States, TBN is available to 92 percent of the total households. Its website receives more than 25 million visitors monthly. In addition to TBN, the network owns and operates The Church Channel, JCTV, TBN Enlace USA, and Smile of a Child TV. For more information on TBN, visit

Media Contacts:
Amy Fihn (TBN CORP)
Tel. 619-546-7606

Dave Bohon (PR for TBN)
Tel. 612-940-8406


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