BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Joy could be found on the faces of all the members of the Church of the Redeemer Sunday morning. The church held its first Sunday worship service in a new sanctuary.
"Just overjoyed, to be in a place we can call home, permanently," says Margaret Blue, church member.
Ruby Gautier has lived through many of the church's ups and down. At 94-years-old, she was baptized in the church back in 1916. She's also the second oldest member in the church, surpassed only by her sister, who's 96.
"It's wonderful. It's beautiful," Gautier says.
Pews that were only installed a few days ago were filled with parishioners. The first lesson shared with the children of the church was one of patience, a lesson adult members says they needed to embrace as well.
This lesson in patience challenged many of them as they waited for the church building to be moved from its beach location to its new spot on Popps Ferry Road.
"I think we, as adults, often did not have the patience we needed, but the end result is a church we will dearly love. It was a long and lengthy process, but I think the end result was well worth it," says Blue.
For members like Gautier, a member for nearly a century, patience is a virtue that has been mastered after seeing Redeemer destroyed and rebuilt twice after hurricanes.
Gautier says, "A building is a building, but we're the church,"
Blue agrees saying, "We have our growing pains. We have our learning curves to overcome in a new sanctuary, but we learn quickly. We've proved to be resilient and we will be resilient."
While moving the church from the beach where it stood for so long is bittersweet for members, the joy to worship in a sanctuary they can call their own is well worth it.
The Church of the Redeemer will also host the annual Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service Sunday evening at seven. The entire community is invited to attend.