GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Gulfport will soon have a new home. The church is making a big move.
Later this month, the church will move from its current location on 31st Avenue to a new location.
It's a bittersweet goodbye.
“There’s obviously a lot of sadness by people. This church has been here about 100 years, a lot of people have had a lot of experiences, a lot of memories from the church,” said Jeff Dukeman.
Pastor Jeff Dukeman said the church has been worshiping at this location since 1919, but he said its time for a change.
The church’s new location is on Highway 49, just south of Dedeaux Road. The church hopes that by relocating, it’ll put them in a position to grow.
“We’re close to highway 10, and right along 49 so we’ll have the accessibility, and we will have that visibility in that central location where people will know where we are and hopefully we’ll have a facility where we can hold events and better serve the community,” Dukeman said.
“We’re looking forward to this, and we’re hoping we’re going to offer the community not only more visibility, but also a place where they can join us and worship, and that’s what we’re trying to do is reach out to the people,” said longtime church member Vicente Munoz.
Dukeman said this is just the beginning of a bright future for the church.
“In a changing world, we really need to experiment and try things, because things that worked in the past may or may not work in the present, so we have to try to be faithful and be creative in serving our Lord,” he said.
“We have a lot of hope and excitement about the future and new opportunities that will come from having a larger space and very accessible space where we can hopefully serve the community better than we have right now.”
The church is awaiting a final inspection of their new building before they officially make the move.
They hope to have their first service in their new location later this month, with an official opening to the community in September.