Bethel Lutheran Church celebrates 50 years of worship - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bethel Lutheran Church celebrates 50 years of worship

Bethel Lutheran Church in Biloxi (Photo source: WLOX) Bethel Lutheran Church in Biloxi (Photo source: WLOX)
Former pastors came for the service, all with a story to tell. (Photo source: WLOX) Former pastors came for the service, all with a story to tell. (Photo source: WLOX)
It's a congregation that is looking forward to the next 50 years. (Photo source: WLOX) It's a congregation that is looking forward to the next 50 years. (Photo source: WLOX)
Gentle music welcomes the congregation on this special day. (Photo source: WLOX) Gentle music welcomes the congregation on this special day. (Photo source: WLOX)
The Rev. Barbara Hunter. (Photo source: WLOX) The Rev. Barbara Hunter. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Gentle music welcomes the congregation on this special day. Prayers highlight the service, 50 years in the making. This is a church that has touched many lives with service beyond self.

The Rev. Barbara Hunter talked about the mission.

“We have camper bags for homeless people. They can stop in and have food or whatever they need. We also have a soup kitchen here for a number of years,” Hunter said.

Former pastors came for the service, all with a story to tell. One of them is the Rev. Larry Koehn.

“I was kind of at the point of despair when I came here. They literally saved my life, and many of the same people are here today, and they just took me in. They loved me. I loved them back,” Koehn explained.

Kathryn Kissel-Taylor signed the original incorporation papers five decades ago.

“I'm really proud of the church and how it has come along. But, they've done a lot of hard work, and I think it's wonderful,” said Kissel-Taylor.

Some have been members here all 50 years, people like Carol Cheatham.

“My kids came here, and I love Bethel. I'll always be here, even when they carry me over the steps out there,” Cheatham joked.

No doubt, the parishioners here at Bethel Lutheran have made many memories over the past 50 years. Perhaps the most telling, the one that stands out the most, happened almost 10 years ago, according to former pastor Gerald Bultman.

“The post Katrina experience was the most powerful I've had. We had Christians from all denominations and people from all parts of the country, and even from foreign countries, came together to help to build back the community and build back this congregation,” Bultman recalled.

It's a congregation that is looking forward to the next 50 years.

Perhaps the best known ministry the church helped create was the establishment of the Bethel free clinic in the weeks after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Coast. The clinic still provides free medical care to this day.

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