Bishop T.D. Jakes is known for ministering to people who are hurting. His message of hope and for rebuilding South Mississippi churches couldn't have come at a better time, but before Bishop Jakes got down to business, he and the crowd lifted their voices in praise and worship.
Picayune pastor R.T. Buckley was one of many local church leaders in the crowd whose church was pummeled by Katrina's winds and rain.
"We understood the possibility has been made available to churches like ours who sustained damage during Hurricane Katrina to make application for a grant," Buckley says.
That's grant money made possible thanks to the more than $100 million raised for Gulf Coast Hurricane relief. Bishop Jakes say about one-fifth of that money is earmarked for churches.
"Twenty million of that has been allocated for the faith community to assist church rebuilding their facilities or replace income for pastors who have lost their members or what have you, and there's a broad range of people who can qualify for these funds. And we need them to apply so they can get the funds as quickly as possible," Bishop Jakes says.
Many local church leaders say they're counting on this grant money to help them build back and build up those who are still coping with their losses.
"I believe that our churches are to the spirit what hospitals are to the body. They're the part where the human heart heals. And through the days ahead, the devestation, the amount of lives, we're going to need healing in places that neither money nor medicine can touch, and that's where ministry comes into view," says Jakes.
Bishop Jakes is a member of the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund. He and other board members will be hosting a similar workshop on these church grants next month. That meeting will be held June 3 at the Mobile Convention Center.