Gulfport church bounces back after double blow from Mother Nature

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -  A Gulfport church dealt a double blow by Mother Nature in recent years is now rejoicing. In 2004, a tornado left the church heavily damaged. Then in 2005 came Hurricane Katrina. On Sunday Temple Baptist celebrated the grand opening of its new sanctuary.

Songs of praise filled the new sanctuary. After years of prayers, church members say God has answered.

JoAnn Wilson belongs to Temple Baptist.

"It makes me know that God is still alive. He's still doing miracles every day," Wilson said.

Temple Baptist was in the middle of constructing a new sanctuary in November of 2004 when a tornado came through.

Pastor Rev. J. Stephen Crane, said, "The tornado took our new sanctuary that we were building and basically made it into a wet rag, just twisted all the metal up. In Katrina, we lost several buildings."

Rev. Crane says the $1.3 million worth of tornado and hurricane damage was hard on the congregation. He says church members turned to one another and to faith for support, and no matter, what they never gave up hope.

"There is just no need in quitting when you're facing trials," said Rev. Crane. "That's doesn't mean that God is finished with you. It just means that you have to look for those blessings in disguise."

Temple Baptist's disguised blessing turned out to be a better sanctuary than it had originally planned. The sanctuary can seat up to 750 people, and there is also added Sunday school space.

"To have brand new facilities, state of the art facilities, it's just unbelievable the magnificence of our new buildings and grounds," said Rev. Crane. "I think God had all this in his mind. He planned it out before we did, so we're giving him praise and glory for it all."

On Monday night at 7 p.m. the church will hold a dedication ceremony.