|Joshua Joy Dara, Sr.|
|Born|| March 1959 |
|Spouse|| Elizabeth Dara|
|Religion||Non-denominational Christian pastor in Pineville, Louisiana|
Joshua Joy Dara, Sr., usually known as Joy Dara (born March 1959), is an African-American lawyer, Christian pastor, and musician/recording artist in his adopted city of Pineville, Louisiana. His congregation is the 3,000-member Zion Hill Church, one of the largest in Central Louisiana.
A native of Nigeria, Dara migrated to the United States in 1980, the same year in which he was called to the ministry. He became a U.S. citizen in 1998. He holds an Associate of Arts degree from the Kwara State College of Technology and Basic Studies in Nigeria. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the California Baptist University at Riverside, California. He received his Juris Doctorate from the historically black Southern University College of Law in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He obtained the Masters of Law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville in northwestern Arkansas. He is licensed to practice law in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Oklahoma and before the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans and the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri.
Dara's wife, Elizabeth, graduated from a teacher's college in Nigeria and holds a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from Southern Baptist-affiliated Louisiana College in Pineville. The couple has five children.
The Joy Dara Ministries, founded in 2000, became a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization two years later. Dara Ministries seeks to:
fulfill the assignment given by Jesus Christ to His followers to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. ... We promote religious, educational, and charitable purposes. We seek to change the world for the glory of God by changing people's mindsets towards God and changing people’s lives for the better. Our mission is simply to fulfill the assignment given by Jesus Christ to His followers to go into the world and make disciples of all nations. In addition, Joy Dara Ministries was founded to promote religious, educational and charitable purposes. We seek to change the world for the glory of God by changing people’s mindset towards God and changing people’s lives for the better. Our goal is to reach the lost for Jesus Christ and to equip and mature believers to live a victorious life....
In the primary election held on October 24, 2015, Dara was the Republican candidate for the District 29 seat in the Louisiana State Senate. The district encompasses the African-American portions of seven parishes: Bienville, Grant, Jackson, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Rapides, and Winn. Dara was defeated by a white Democrat, W. Jay Luneau, an attorney from Alexandria and a Baptist layman. Luneau polled 13,462 votes (59.3 percent) to Dara's 9,225 (40.7 percent). Luneau won six parishes; Dara prevailed only in Grant Parish, 919 votes to Luneau's 847. The position opened when the African-American Democrat lawyer Rick Gallot of Ruston, who also previously served in the Louisiana House of Representatives, did not seek a second term in the state Senate.
Dara said that he had been urged by some to "run as an Independent or a Democrat," but concluded, "that wouldn't be true to my calling. I'm very conservative, and I don't need to pretend to be something I'm not."
In 2019, Luneau was elected to a second Senate term with a lopsided victory over another Republican, former state Representative Randy Wiggins.
Other Alexandra-Pineville clergy:
- Joshua Dara, March 1959. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on September 10, 2015.
- About Joy Dara Ministries. joydara.org. Retrieved on October 28, 2015.
- Results for Election Date: 10/24/2015. Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved on October 27, 2015.
- Greg Hilburn (August 18, 2015). Cenla minister, attorney enter Senate race. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on November 7, 2015.