2 News - Baton Rouge Louisiana
Leader of defunct Hosanna Church sought redemption, ex-pastor says
June 2, 2005
By STEVEN WARD
PONCHATOULA -- Former Hosanna Church pastor Glynn Fendlason believes in his heart that Louis David Lamonica walked into the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office and told detectives that he had sex with children and animals because a lost soul was searching for redemption.
"I absolutely believe it was God who brought him there. It was partly his repentance," Fendlason said Wednesday morning.
Fendlason, a 59-year-old manager of a Ponchatoula finance company, was the pastor at First Assembly of God -- now known as Hosanna Church following a 2002 name change -- from 1982 until 1989. Fendlason took over the job after church founder Louis Lamonica died of stomach cancer at age 49.
Louis Lamonica's son, Louis David Lamonica, became pastor of the church on U.S. 51 in 1993 -- a few years after Fendlason left.
Louis David Lamonica was pastor of the church for a decade -- from 1993 until the church shut down in 2003.
Lamonica and seven others have been arrested and accused of sexually abusing children and animals at the church as part of ritualistic cult activity that included devil worshipping, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards said. Edwards said the crimes occurred at the church between 1999 and 2003.
Fendlason said Wednesday that after he left the church as pastor in 1989, he purposely isolated himself from the church and the activities there.
"That had nothing to do with anything bad. It was just that my time there was finished. That was none of my business anymore. Sometimes when a pastor leaves, they can still interject themselves in what goes on, and that can be disruptive," Fendlason said.
After Lamonica had taken over the church, Fendlason said he and others in the community had heard that strange things were happening at the church.
"Nothing like these crimes these people have been accused of. People told me about excommunications at the church. When members of the church or Brother Lamonica were invited to participate in community ministry meetings, they would never show up," Fendlason said.
Lamonica kicked his two aunts and his mother, Angie Lamonica, out of the church, Jack Pisciotta, Lamonica's first cousin, said recently.
Fendlason said his gut feeling when he first heard about the arrests was probably the same as many others who once belonged to the congregation of the now closed church.
"You go through the whole spectrum of feelings. Anger. Frustration. Even shame. Shame about the church or the facility and knowing what it had once been," Fendlason said.
Fendlason said he had no idea that Louis David Lamonica or the others who have been arrested had been involved in anything criminal, much less the accusations involving Satan worship and the sexual abuse of children and animals.
Lamonica was a member of Fendlason's congregation.
"He played bass guitar with the church's worship team. He never missed a service. He played softball for the church team. He was an upstanding man with a family," Fendlason said.
Fendlason said he never tried to reach out to Lamonica when he heard about family members being kicked out of the church.
"I didn't reach out at the time and I regret that. But I will reach out to him now," Fendlason said.
Fendlason said he plans to visit with Lamonica in the jail in a few weeks.
"I want to pray for him and pray with him. I want to listen to him. I want him to know he has a friend here," Fendlason said.
Fendlason said the crimes Lamonica and the others have been accused of are inexcusable.
"I don't condone what they allegedly did. But we all have sins. And even in this evil, there is a time for redemption. I believe in a God who redeems," Fendlason said.
Fendlason also said he believes the empty Hosanna church will somehow "rise out of the ashes" to be something important once again.
"The church will be a place of victory and value at some point. I just know it," Fendlason said