Saint Marks Church Has New Home After 150 Years On Beach Front

It's a new permanent home for St. Marks Episcopal Church after 150 years of worship on the beach in Gulfport.

"I was christened there," says lifetime member Ms. Marshall Zora of Gulfport. "And then I was confirmed and married there."

Since Katrina, the members of Saint Marks have been meeting at the Anniston Elementary School Cafeteria.

Sunday they met for the first time on the plot of land upon which, they will build their new church.

"We're on the corner of Cowan and Taylor Road just to the West side of Cowan out here," says Father James Bo Roberts. "And once you make that turn it's pretty easy to spot us, 2 big old trailers and a paved parking lot."

But father Roberts says those are just the humble beginnings of what will be a glorious new church in the wild wood.

"We will build a church. We will build an office building and Sunday School. We expect to rebuild and have our preschool start back up. And then we are going to build a fellowship center which will be large enough to house what we used to think of as our parish hall, but this will be much larger than that."

"Though the building has moved to higher ground, church official aren't ready to abandon this piece of property just yet. Instead they would like to turn it into something that could provide hope and comfort for this area, just as it has for more than 150 years.

"Maybe a free pharmacy or free clinic," says Father Roberts. "Maybe a Hope Bank, which is for people who can't provide enough collateral to get a loan normally, and also a small memorial chapel of some sort to St. Marks."

But until that happens, Father Roberts believes his 600 members will find togetherness in their new home inspiration enough.

"Leave your heart down there on the beach and come out here with new hopes and new designs for the future," says Roberts.