Lakeshore Baptist Church dedicates new sanctuary

Lakeshore Baptist Church dedicates new sanctuary
The church's campus was leveled by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX)
The church's campus was leveled by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo source: WLOX)
About three and half years ago the construction began on the new sanctuary. (Photo source: WLOX)
About three and half years ago the construction began on the new sanctuary. (Photo source: WLOX)
The new sanctuary can seat more than 200 people. (Photo source: WLOX)
The new sanctuary can seat more than 200 people. (Photo source: WLOX)
The original Lakeshore Baptist Church. (Photo source: WLOX)
The original Lakeshore Baptist Church. (Photo source: WLOX)

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Lakeshore Baptist Church in Bay St. Louis celebrated a huge milestone Sunday morning with a dedication service.

The church's campus was leveled by Hurricane Katrina. Ten years and a day later the brand new sanctuary officially opened for worship.

Pastor Don Elbourne will never forget the drive back to the Coast less than a week after the devastating storm roared through.

"First thing we saw of the church building was the gabled end of the old building in a field down the street, and we got to the building itself and there was nothing left but concrete steps," said Elbourne.

The church that used to stand was a small Baptist church with a dedicated congregation.

Member Trina Lizana remembers the tough days following the storm and the belief she clung to.

"God is good. He's going to see us through it," said Lizana.

Although the church knew a rebuild was in the future, the community's needs came first. Elbourne quickly began an outreach helping people throughout the Lakeshore area.

Vivian Piergalski says that she could see the love of God in how the congregation dedicated themselves to service even without a building.

"They gave us food, clothes, blankets, pillows. Whatever we needed, they gave to us," said Piergalski.

In the weeks, months and years after the storm, thousands of volunteers made their way to Lakeshore. They helped the church get back on its feet.

About three and half years ago the construction began on the new sanctuary.

"Now we can look back and see that he was directing our path all the way through," said Elbourne.

Volunteers came from all over the country. They rebuilt Lakeshore Baptist from the ground up. Doug Thorpe came from Kentucky to volunteer throughout the past decade and came back just for the dedication service.

"I mean, praise God for all he's done here. It's amazing," said Thorpe. He and many others became close with Lakeshore's congregation over the years of service.

Laszlo Pasztor has organized a recovery effort with his church in Pennsylvania every year since the storm.

"It's become a work of love," said Pasztor.

According to Elbourne and his congregation, it's that love that's gotten them to where they are ten years after the storm.

"We're glorifying God because of that," said Elbourne.

The new sanctuary can seat more than 200 people.

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