By Hannah Richardson
“Faith,” a new monument located at Trinity Baptist Church on Howard Street in Natchitoches, was unveiled Saturday, June 19. The sculpture was created by James Borders in honor of his late wife Lisa who lost her life to cancer in 2018. Family, friends and guests that attended the gathering wore pink in her honor. The sculpture and plaque also honors Avis Borders Fletcher, James’ mother, and Margaret Pauline Chesser, Lisa’s mother. Both passed in 2020.
Arron McGuffee, pastor at Trinity, said this is the first monumental contemporary sculpture in Natchitoches, and that they were honored the church will serve as the home for the sculpture. He and Borders have worked together closely since the beginning of the project.
Ron Thompson, former pastor at Trinity, reminisced on memories of Lisa when he first came to lead at Trinity and how dedicated she was to the church as a longtime member. Thompson said he appreciates the sculpture, now available for all to view outside Trinity Baptist Church. “It points to something that’s even greater than the kindness of Lisa’s heart towards one another. That was her heart tuned in to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. She would tell you the smile she had was because she enjoyed life and because she knew Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior,” said Thompson.
Lisa served as a legal assistant/judicial administrator to the Honorable Desiree Dyess and the 10th Judicial District Court. Dyess also spoke at the service. “Anyone who knew Lisa knew she had a great love for humanity, relentless loyalty to family and friends, and was a courageous warrior spirit through adversity and illness,” said Dyess.
“Lisa is the greatest human being I know and will ever know,” said Borders. “I hope her monument will stand as a symbol of her unbreakable faith, to inspire us all.”
Jacob Rupert, a colleague of Lisa’s at the judges office, also read aloud two poems written by James and Lisa. The full livestream of the service can be found at www.facebook.com/TBCnakatosh/
The sculpture was officially unveiled in front of the church. Borders spoke about how much thought was put into the project and what all the parts represent.
The central sculpture represents the church and contains the Trinity, represented by three spears. “The church is open, with negative space to always represent new flock and letting them in,” said Borders. There are seven arcs, representing the creation to the day of rest. Two vertical arcs signify the fish, or ichthys, symbol. When Borders went to get the materials for the monument, he was advised to wait until confirmation for the project came. He said he would go forward in the project regardless, in faith. “Faith worked out and here it stands,” he said. Borders also said he is working on another monument for Lisa’s graveside.
The Lisa’s Trinity Cross “Faith” plaque reads as follows:
“’It’s okay. I am at peace. I know where I am going.’
Lisa is remembered for her deep and selfless love of humanity, her unwavering faith in God, her relentless loyalty to family and friends, and her courageous warrior spirit. Her gracious joy and contagious smile will be missed by all those who knew her.
Dedicated to her church by the Borders, Chesser and Fletcher families
June 19, 2021
In Memory of
Lisa Chesser Borders May 2, 1969 – November 18, 2018
Margaret P. Chesser December 15, 1941 – February 1, 2020
Avis A. Borders Fletcher June 15, 1937 – September 11, 2020
For the greatest person I have ever known. My driving force, my wife.
The emblem on top of the plaque resembles a sculpture Borders made for Lisa on their wedding day.
In front of the monument lies a bed of bricks, many of which honor loved ones that have passed away. Lisa also has bricks dedicated to her in this area. Money from the memorial brick fundraiser goes towards the Trinity Baptist Building Fund.
A GoFundMe page (https://gofund.me/f06921bb) has been set up by Borders to endow a scholarship that will continue to assist art students at Northwestern State University. The page states that every year, an art student will receive the Lisa Chesser Borders Endowed Meraki Scholarship after careful examination of the student’s work. Lisa Chesser Borders Permanent Student Art Collection can be found in the Academic Success Center, located on the first floor of Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library at NSU.