HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County church is celebrating a century of ministry and community service. Bayou Talla Fellowship Church in the Kiln is where members say they're proud of the past 100 years and looking forward to the years to come.
Long time members say they are amazed by how far the church has come from its humble beginnings. Ronald Thomas has a family connection with the church.
"My grandmother established the church, originally. It used to be on the front porch of her house," Thomas said.
The church has about 300 members. The pastor says no one has forgotten the price paid by previous generations.
"A hundred years of ministry to the community and to the kingdom is very meaningful because we build upon the work and labor and shoulders of others who came before us," said Rev. Michael Wells. "So it gives us a great sense of responsibility, even accountability because we have to carry that mantle forward."
Members say their church's mission is to support one another and reach out to the community with ministries for children and the deaf, as well as free adult literacy and 'English As A Second Language' classes.
Education Director Donna Daulton said, "Help them live their lives better. To get to know God through His word. Also to be able to fill out forms when they go to the doctor's office, job interviews, be able to have the skills they need to get a promotion."
The congregation at Bayou Talla says it wants to show people how having faith can change lives for the better.
"The only way people will be attracted and drawn to the church is if they see you and I living it out there," Rev. Wells said. "I tell our folks all the time, 'You go out and love people. Do things for people and live your life like Christ did.' Your neighbors will start checking your garbage to see what you're eating and drinking and smoking because that is not the common thing, and people are attracted to that. "
Church member Dena Dastogue said, "When we as people think, 'Oh, my goodness how are we going to get through this? How are we going to solve that?' God comes in and just miraculously handles all of the situation. Lives are changed, and people are drawn to Him as a result. What a boost to my faith to know there is nothing that God can't overcome."
Bayou Talla Fellowship Church has expanded several times in recent years including a new pre-school, youth center and multi-use center.