Early morning church service looks forward after Katrina

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Five years ago Sunday, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast, leaving a sense of hopelessness and loss.  Those feelings were all but gone at the sunrise service at Fort Maurepas Park.

Instead of a howling wind and deadly storm surge, songs of praise where the sounds of the day.  Closed eyes and folded hands were in abundance, as were the words of thanksgiving, words that are timeless. Reverend Chris Cumbest of St. Paul United Methodist Church said it best.  "We also remember those who struggled and sacrificed, those who have come to help us and we remember all that took place on this day five years ago, but today, we also come to celebrate, to celebrate God's presence in our lives."

While the mood at Sunday's non denominational special service was mostly upbeat and joyous, there were times that raw emotions showed through, and tears could be seen. The tears belonged to Ocean Springs Alderman Chic Cody.  "I never shall never forget, sitting on the steps of my sister's house in Biloxi, and these volunteers came, they said we came to bless you, you've blessed us more than you'll ever know."

A song written about the giant storm left many in the crowd inspired with a new found appreciation for life.   All felt blessed, said Dr. Michael Barnett of the First Baptist Church.  "Of all the people of God that came from all over the nation to help us, and I say wow, what manner of God do we have that we have overcome and we have been blessed."

Overcoming tragedy, and rebuilding our homes, lives and faith became a lot easier with the message of hope.

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