Coast Church Celebrates 150th Birthday

Members of one church in Ocean Springs celebrated a birthday Sunday. This year marks the 150th anniversary of St. Paul's Methodist Church.

Members of St. Paul's have been worshiping in Ocean Springs since 1853. So in 2003, church member Ann Palermo said they've reached a milestone.

"The ministry in the Methodist Church of the Lord has been going on in this area for that long. And we have grown and grown, and as Ocean Springs is growing, so is the church," said Palero.

Right now, the church has 1400 members and a new building that opened just a month ago on the corner of Highways 57 and 90.

Palero said she moved to the coast with her family nine years ago.

"And when we moved here, the congregation was so warm and friendly and welcoming that it was almost instant. It didn't take us very long to decide that this is really where we wanted to be to worship," said Palero.

The bishop said this church is much different compared to its humble beginnings more than a century ago. He said the church now has two locations and will be able to reach even more people in this area.

"By moving into the new facility while maintaining a ministry in downtown, this church is demonstrating that it is prepared for the future to minister to the future needs of the folks in Mississippi," said Bishop Kenneth Carder.

That future includes a new children's home for the community.

"We're opening a group home here on the Gulf Coast this weekend. We're going to be consecrating this facility located just north of Gulfport," said Bishop Carder.

Other members of St. Paul's Methodist church said while the facilities here are new, their memories of the church date back many years.