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Devastated Mississippi Parishes Regroup in Faith
The Living Church FOundation, 9/07/2005

Many longtime residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast instinctively head to their church in times of crisis, but for the members at six of the 10 Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Mississippi’s Coastal Convocation, church was a vacant lot where a building was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Services were held Sept. 4 at five of the six churches.

About 100 parishioners from Church of the Redeemer, Biloxi, held a service on the grounds of the ruined church where nothing remained standing, although most of the rubble had been swept off the site. Spirits soared, according to The Clarion-Ledger of Jackson, as members gathered and saw each other for the first time since the storm. Some had harrowing tales of clinging to scraps of floating wood and houses collapsing as they ran out of them, but there do not appear to be any fatalities among the congregation, according to the rector, the Rev. Harold Roberts.

The service was interrupted briefly, according to the Houston Chronicle, when Redeemer member Gig Tisdale landed his National Guard helicopter on the nearby beach to offload relief supplies for his church, stayed for most of the service, and then ran back to join his crew. Participants were amazed when three Navy hovercrafts landed noisily on the beach at the end of the service, jolting them back to the grim reality of the recovery effort.

The situation played out much the same at St. Mark’s, Gulfport, where the Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray III, Bishop of Mississippi, assisted the rector, the Rev. Bo Roberts. “Although the church is not standing physically,” Bishop Gray said, “spiritually the church continues to stand and we will continue to do the work that God has called us to do.”

The first priority, Bishop Gray explained to Episcopal News Service afterward, is to give the local clergy some stability so that they can return to the area. “We need to make sure they have a place to live,” he said. “We will probably get some motor scooters for them because gas is so hard to come by. We will get trailers for two or three clergy to give them temporary space.”

The diocese is helping to set up supply areas for local needs. Coast Episcopal School in Long Beach has begun to receive goods and volunteers and is hoping to serve 2,000 hot meals a day. Christus Victor, a Lutheran church in Ocean Springs, is home to Lutheran-Episcopal Services of Mississippi, an ecumenical social ministry organization.

St. Thomas’, Diamondhead, will become another distribution point along the Mississippi coast in the weeks ahead. “Once these are fully operational, all the people who are eager to help our community will have a place to come to, a place to send materials and we will begin to step out into the community,” Bishop Gray said.

Despite the need to focus on their own recovery, Mississippi Episcopalians were not so overcome that they forgot about the pastoral needs of others. Trenise Williams and her fiancé, Joseph Kirsch, were to be married in New Orleans on the day Hurricane Katrina struck. The couple fled with their marriage license and the clothes they were wearing, eventually finding shelter, along with 3,000 refugees, in the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, according to CNN, which reported that the Rev. Horace Choate volunteered to officiate at a ceremony for the couple planned and paid for by local residents and other refugees from the shelter.

1 posted on 09/07/2005 3:46:07 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; Fractal Trader; Zero Sum; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; ...
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2 posted on 09/07/2005 3:46:50 PM PDT by sionnsar (†trad-anglican.faithweb.com† || (To Libs:) You are failing to celebrate MY diversity! || Iran Azadi)
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To: sionnsar
Trenise Williams and her fiancé, Joseph Kirsch, were to be married in New Orleans on the day Hurricane Katrina struck. The couple fled with their marriage license and the clothes they were wearing, eventually finding shelter, along with 3,000 refugees, in the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, according to CNN, which reported that the Rev. Horace Choate volunteered to officiate at a ceremony for the couple planned and paid for by local residents and other refugees from the shelter.

I'm not sure how good a Louisiana marriage license is in Mississippi. And I don't think Louisiana has Common Law marriages. So I hope the couple tidies up the paperwork at some point.

3 posted on 09/07/2005 9:05:03 PM PDT by PAR35
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To: sionnsar
The service was interrupted briefly, according to the Houston Chronicle, when Redeemer member Gig Tisdale landed his National Guard helicopter on the nearby beach to offload relief supplies for his church, stayed for most of the service, and then ran back to join his crew. Participants were amazed when three Navy hovercrafts landed noisily on the beach at the end of the service, jolting them back to the grim reality of the recovery effort.

Now that brought tears to my eyes.

4 posted on 09/07/2005 9:10:36 PM PDT by McGavin999 (We're a First World Country with a Third World Press (Except for Hume & Garrett ))
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