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Our Ministers & Staff

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Dr. Chris Thacker

Senior Pastor

Chris Thacker has served as the Pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church since 2007. In this multifaceted role as leader of the church staff, Chris preaches, teaches, offers pastoral care, helps plan experiences of worship, and represents the congregation in the community. Originally from East Texas, Chris brings a wealth of education to his ministry, holding degrees from East Texas Baptist University, Truett Seminary, and Columbia Theological Seminary. He is married to Jessica who serves as the Chair of the Department of Communication, Languages, and Art at Louisiana State University of Alexandria. The Thackers have three sons: Jack, Henry, and Simon. During his free time, Chris enjoys golf, reading, traveling with family, and exploring the “art” of barbeque. Interestingly, despite his Texas background, he holds a unique affection for Louisiana parades.

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Rev. João Moraes

Associate Pastor for Spiritual Formation 

João Moraes is originally from Salvador, Brazil but came to Emmanuel in 2023 after completing his theological studies at Baylor University and Truett Seminary in Waco, TX. In his role, João helps our community grow in likeness to Christ by coordinating Sunday School, facilitating mid-week discussions, and assisting our Pastor in crafting other worshipful experiences. Beyond his pastoral duties, João enjoys spending time with his Shih Tzu, Jolene, and traveling to visit his family in Brazil and friends across the US. He also loves building models, baking, and making unnecessarily complicated coffee.

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Rev. Susan Cauley

Associate Pastor for Congregational Care

Susan Cauley joined Emmanuel in 1990 as the Associate Minister of Music and Organist. In 2014, she transitioned into the role of Associate Pastor for Congregational Care. Susan cares for our members through regular visits and phone calls as well as through her presence in times of crises. A Tennessee native, she is a graduate of Belmont University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Susan is married to Jerry, her lifelong partner in music making. Together they have two adult children and four grandchildren who bring the Cauleys much joy. If she’s not visiting a church member or a grandchild, you will find Susan reading or cooking.

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Kenneth and Regina Ervin

Youth Ministry Co-Directors

Kenneth and Regina Ervin have served as Co-Directors of Youth Ministry since 2020. Together, they focus on fostering a sense of community, acceptance, and belonging among our youth through play, laughter, and spiritual growth. Kenneth, originally from Walker, Louisiana, holds a bachelor's degree in music from Louisiana College and a bachelor's degree in nursing, which he practices as the Cath Lab Director at Rapides Regional Medical Center in Alexandria. Regina grew up in Dubai, UAE, and earned a bachelor's degree in religious education at Louisiana College, where she met and married Kenneth. She later pursued a master's degree in counseling at the University of North Texas and now runs a private counseling practice, specializing in adults and teens. Their shared passion for music is reflected in their two sons, Dane and Dylon, both talented musicians. Kenneth enjoys softball, hiking, and tinkering with things, while Regina cherishes every moment her family spends making music together.

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Sally Newcomer

Children’s Ministry Director

Sally Newcomer grew up in Central Louisiana and had been a longtime member of Emmanuel when she joined the staff in 2019 as the Children’s Ministry Director, becoming responsible for nurturing the faith of families and children. Sally holds degrees in Elementary and Special Education, along with a certification as an Early Interventionist, which she uses daily in her work as a Special Education teacher. She is married to Scott, and together they have two children, Hugh and Amelia, and a scruffy dog named Grover Mae—the second name was added when they realized she was a girl (a true Southern solution!). In her free time, Sally enjoys writing, reading, and going on adventures with family and friends.

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Dr. Brenda Rudd

Music Director and Pianist

Brenda Rudd serves as Music Director and Pianist assuming this role in 2023 after serving as Pianist since 2019. Brenda sees music as a divine calling and finds joy sharing Christ’s love through music as a conductor, pianist, and teacher. A native of Shreveport, Louisiana, she holds a Master of Music from Northwestern State University and a Doctor of Music (Choral Conducting) from Louisiana State University. In her leisure time Brenda enjoys hiking, photography, traveling and decorating for the holidays as well as  spoiling her “fur babies”, Kirby and Mia.  She and her husband, Richard, have two adult children, Matthew and Rachel.

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Richard Rudd

Associate Music Director

Richard Rudd joined the Emmanuel staff in 2023 as Associate Music Director.  Richard appreciates music as God’s precious gift of expression and endeavors to bring honor and glory to His name as he conducts music in the worship services. He is a native of Dodson, Louisiana, and holds a B.A. in Theatre and a M.Ed. from Northwestern State University. Richard enjoys playing his bass guitar, reading, grilling and traveling. He and his wife, Brenda, have two adult children, Matthew and Rachel.  Their empty nest is filled with two beloved “fur babies”, Kirby and Mia.

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Scottie Brooks

Activities Director

Scottie Brooks began working at Emmanuel in 2003 as a recreation worker and became Activities Director in 2006. In this role he supervises the usage of our Family Life Center and is responsible for supervising the childcare and activities staff. Additionally, he organizes intergenerational functions for the church throughout the year. The son of a minister, Scottie spent his formative years in various places in Louisiana graduating from Albany High in Albany, Louisiana.  He holds a B.A. in History from Louisiana College and an M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. He is a residential licensing inspector for the state of Louisiana. Scottie is married to Kate Murphy with whom he has two children, Mary and Malcolm. A lifelong sports fan, Scottie says his days of playing sports have given way to watching sports and playing games with his kiddos.

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