One Week Effort Underway To Rebuild Waveland Church - - The News for South Mississippi

One Week Effort Underway To Rebuild Waveland Church

While he was expecting the worst, Rich Handy was still shocked by what Hurricane Katrina did to Clermont Harbor United Methodist Church in Waveland.  

"On August 29th, this church came up missing," says Handy, the church's Pastor. "There was absolutely nothing left."

Since then, services for his small congregation have been a very real tent revival.  

"We started off with the basic funeral style tent," says Handy. "And then one week the city of Waveland brought this over."

But he had a chance encounter with a group of North Carolina volunteers called Meshack's Carpenters the week after Thanksgiving. 

"We took a wrong turn, and we found this church," says Charlie Fields, coordinator for Meshack's Carpenters.

That encounter is giving Clermont Harbor a second chance. 

They work fast; these are the men and women, boys and girls that have committed to rebuilding the church in a little more than one week.  

"These guys work 24 hours a day," says Handy. "Most of them sleep 5 or 6 hours and work a good 18 hour day."

 On top of being totally self sufficient they even chip in to help purchase the materials.  

"Each person here paid 250 dollars to come down here to have the pleasure of working," says Fields.  

And for Nancy "Mama" Brown of Julian, NC, it truly is a pleasure.

"I love it," says Brown. "It rewards me spiritually."

The one part of the old church they did find was the original bell.

It was in a tree, and it will be returned to the new building to ring in a new era beginning next Sunday.  

"Part of rebuilding this is seeing a vision for the future," says Handy.

And Handy hopes former residents will notice the bells message of revival in Waveland.  

"Hopefully this will be a little bit of inspiration to others in the community to begin to rebuild."

Meshack's Carpenters was founded in 1999 as a disaster response organization of the Goldston United Methodist Church, but has since expanded to include members of many other religious denominations in North Carolina.

by Don Culpepper

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