St. Mark's Episcopal Church Holds First Services In New Sanctuary - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

St. Mark's Episcopal Church Holds First Services In New Sanctuary

GULFPORT (WLOX)-- 160 years at their beach front location ended with Hurricane Katrina. But the body of the church, it's people, while depleted in numbers, remained behind, determined to keep St. Mark's Episcopal Church alive. 

They found higher ground in a shady spot further north, then they broke ground on the first anniversary of Katrina, on their new property.  On June 15th, they can finally say they're back where they belong.   

"We've been in the Parish Hall using that for worship for the past couple of months. But this is the first day back in the sanctuary"said Pastor Bo Roberts.

It was a proud and emotional day for Roberts, the church's long-time pastor.  

"It's great for me to have a new facility here and to be an example for the community and also to provide for our people. But it's also particularly good to know that we're doing what we feel like God wanted us to do and through his grace be able to accomplish this," said Roberts.

The new St. Mark's is now equipped to become a feed and shelter facility in the event another disaster strikes.  

"We've put in showers and anything like that to accommodate a group of workers or people in the community at a time like that," said Roberts. 

Reverend Roberts has had to rebuild St. Mark's twice.  Hurricane Camille took his first church on the beach in 1969. So he hopes the new one is built to last because he knows human beings aren't.  

"When something like this comes you say I'm not sure I've got it. I may not be able to make it through another building project. But through the grace of God, and walk with our hand in Christ we're able to accomplish Gods will, " said Roberts.

By Don Culpepper

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