BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Change is often bittersweet, and none know that better than the congregation of Biloxi's Church of the Redeemer. The church has had a rocky history. First established in the 1800s, the church has lost two sanctuaries in hurricanes over the years.
"I keep telling people, I feel like the captain of the Titanic," joked the church's current leader Fr. Dr. Harold Roberts.
Now, the church that has stood on the beachfront for years will reopen in a new location. The new sanctuary was built in Biloxi on Popp's Ferry Road and completed ten weeks ahead of schedule. It will hold its first services Sunday.
Parishioners have been busy moving everything the church needs for services from its temporary halls to the new location.
"This is a move that we've waited for, for five years, so it's great! We hate to leave the area here. It's very sentimental, being here down in Biloxi, but it's going to be great on Popp's Ferry," said church member Pat Adams.
"I have butterflies. It is new. It is beautiful," said Roberts.
While the halls of the old location on Water Street are growing increasingly bare, the halls of the new sanctuary smell of fresh paint. Every member of the church has pitched in to help move items and put the polishing touches on the new location.
Roberts said the old building will still be used by the church and community groups. He hopes it will become a community center where the church can reach out to others.
While all members are excited to make the move, they also say they will miss the old location and the peaceful sight of the beach.
"I could look out some days and see the dolphins swim by and the water. We won't see that in the new location. But the upside, the community of Biloxi will be there," said Roberts.
Roberts and others also hope that the new location will create a more close knit relationship with the Biloxi community.