OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - An Ocean Springs church has withstood the test of time, celebrating 150 years. Members credit the church's longevity simply to the faith of those who have attended.
"For over a century, you have to have a belief in God, and a strong faith in God that God will carry you through," said Ralph Waller.
It was a packed house inside St. James United Methodist Church on Sunday. Past and present members along with community supporters packed into the small sanctuary to help the church celebrate this milestone.
"It's just commitment, dedication, and a love of God, love of people," said Sandra Williams.
Members say its seen its share of ups and downs, like any institution that's been around for more than a century.
"I guess the biggest thing was suffering with Hurricane Katrina. We lost part of the roof, not just the shingles on the roof and we sustained some water damage, but we were able to get through that and continue as a church," said Waller.
The church has been located at that same Government Street property since the 1800s. The current sanctuary was built in 1964, and the sign out front is brand new. Though many things have changed, the goal of the church has remained the same.
"Being a small church, sometimes things didn't look the brightest. but we stuck together, we prayed together, we kept the faith that God would see it through," said Waller.
The theme of the anniversary service was: Seeking the lost, Serving the least, and striving for perfection.
"We're not perfect, and I don't think any church is perfect, but we try to do our best, try to get everyone involved in the community and just lead them on the right path," said Ismet Eckstein.
The church's pastor is Lasonya Debose. She's been with the congregation since 2009.