BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - New Bethel Missionary Baptist claims a long history of strong faith, and a strong community. On Sunday, the Biloxi church celebrated more than a century of worship.
If the history of New Bethel was all displayed on a table, triumphs, struggles, faith, family, and a whole lot of praise and worship would likely be seen. The church has a rich history filled with people - young people, new members, and some members who have been around for quite a while, like Ruby Green.
"The church is 107 years old. She has been going for 60 of those years," said Ruby's daughter, Pamela.
Ruby turned 100-years-young in June. And according to Pamela, being a "back row Baptist" just wasn't an option for her mother.
"She's always been active in the church; its educational supervisor, helping it get the first church bus. All the things that are necessary to keep her church running, she's been active and doing that," said Pamela.
But, it's not just members who came out to celebrate the anniversary. The Xavier University of Louisiana Concert Choir presented the congregation with a few songs. Its director, Dr. John Ware, is a Biloxi native who spent a lot of time growing up within New Bethel's walls.
"With community, when one person celebrates the whole community celebrates," said Dr. Ware.
And according to members, the celebration wouldn't be possible without someone leading the way.
"It's a blessing to have our pastor. One of the best pastors in Biloxi, Reverend Kenneth Hollins," said Robin Walker.
Dr. Hollins credits the long history of the church to the dedication and steady faith of those who make it what it is.
"I think the Lord has blessed us because of the prayers of the saints, and because this church has been productive and what the Lord has called us to do, and that has been primarily to win souls for him," said Hollins.
And in that faith, Hollins prays the blessings will continue for another century and beyond.
The church celebrated with two anniversary services featuring guests from all around the region.