Gulfside Assembly in Waveland hosts interfaith service

WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - By Steve Phillips – bio | email

WAVELAND, MS   (WLOX) - Prayer and inspirational music filled the grounds of Gulfside Assembly in Waveland Friday morning.

The congregation hosted a special interfaith service; offering support and encouragement for everyone impacted by Hurricane Katrina and the oil spill

Founded in 1923 by black Methodist bishop, Robert E. Jones, Gulfside Assembly has been a special, sacred place for generations.

Katrina destroyed everything on the campus, including a new retreat center where the ribbon was cut just a week before the storm.

Despite the devastation, plans are underway to rebuild Gulfside Assembly; plans that now include a retirement community.

"God's gonna build up Zion's wall. Oh, great day the righteousness marching, great day the righteousness marching," sang the clear soprano, whose voice echoed across the nearby Mississippi Sound.

"We gather today to give thanks to God for the continued restoration of our community," said Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the United Methodist Church, "And most especially for this place. We give thanks for God's providence, God's love and God's strength. In this way we know we are not alone. And we look to God for strength and help as we move forward."

A tent served as the sanctuary on this holy ground that Katrina roared through five years ago.

Though the ground is all that remains, church leaders envision new buildings, which will include retirement homes.

"Housed over there are people from all walks of life who determined that this is the place where they want to live," said Rev. Abraham Carey, the board chairman for Gulfside Assembly.

For generations, Gulfside has been holy ground for so many people; a hub of ministry outreach both to the local community and the world.

"And the rich history that was here. Just the buildings are gone. The history is still here. What happened, happened. And those great things continue to happen here at Gulfside Assembly," said Waveland Mayor Tommy Longo.

"When I meet you in the morning, meet you in the morning," the choir cheerfully sang, as they greeted those in the congregation.

The talented choir from Rust College offered the inspirational music for this multi-denominational gathering.

The message was clear: The pain of the past, is just that.

"We're here to praise God. To lift God up. And to honor what God has done for us. And we're not talking about Katrina, the destruction. We're talking about how blessed we are right now. AMEN.  How blessed we are right now," said Gulfside Assembly CEO, Mollie Stewart.

Gulfside Assembly will be launching a capital campaign for its ambitious building plans.

Revenue will also be generated by the pre-sale of the "Sea Song" retirement homes, which are now being marketed.

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