Installing Steeple Not So Easy For Gulfport Church

With the help of a crane, crews gently lift a fiberglass and steel spire from the ground. Their job is to install the 25-foot steeple on top of Mississippi City United Methodist Church.

"You don't find steeples on any other kinds of buildings other than churches. I think that's recognized universally as a symbol of the body of Christ, or the community of faith," Pastor Rod Dickson-Rishel said.

As the spire goes 50-feet into the air, two men balancing themselves on the steep roof and two workers on the ground try to guide the structure into place. But, the wind poses a problem.

"It's pretty breezy. It's just shifting it from side to side, but they got hand on it now," Crew member Robert Blackwell said.

Watching the action closely is Nellye Haines. She donated $7,000 to buy the steeple.

"I'm glad I could do it. I think every church does need one. It's known by it's steeple. I think it's very beautiful, I'm pleased," Nellye said.

"I have jokingly said in a lot of ways that I'm the pastor of the invisible church on Courthouse Road. Hopefully, this steeple will make us not invisible anymore," Pastor Rishel said.

Just when things started to go smoothly, another problem develops. Crews soon discover, the top doesn't even fit the base.

"When the steeple was delivered, there were two bases and two spires on the truck," Pastor Rishel said. "We got mismatched pieces when we unloaded them, and some other church in north Mississippi has two mismatched pieces as well."

So, after all that hard work, crews remove the spire from its base. Now, everyone must wait for the right piece to come in and start the process all over again.

The steeple was part of a $140,000 renovation project at the church. Inside, the church put in new furniture, replaced the carpeting, upgraded the lighting in the sanctuary and remodeled the chancel area.