Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A Poignant Invitation from the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Just received this from our dear friend, Dr. Guy Richard of the First Presbyterian Church, Gulfport:

"On Sunday, May 14, 2006, in a very difficult decision, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church voted not to rebuild the facility that it has called home since November 22, 1964, and, instead, to purchase property on Mississippi 605 and build a new facility there. This decision is something that very few, if any, of us wanted to face, especially me. As your new pastor—admittedly, an outsider as far as the history of the church is concerned—the last thing I wanted to tackle in my first year of ministry (or tenth, for that matter) was such an intensely personal matter. Many folks remember working on the building committee for the (then) new sanctuary or sacrificing so that it could be paid for. Most remember the years of Sunday services, weddings, and funerals; the meals; the Bible studies; the fellowship groups; the choir practices and special anthems; the many youth activities, baptisms, children’s programs, and officer installations. It is clear that the Lord has richly blessed this congregation over the generations.

"In light of the recent negative attention that our church has received in the media and our desire to be good witnesses to the surrounding community, and in light of the congregation’s vote in May of this year and the approaching FEMA deadlines for debris removal, we, as a church, will soon be faced with the reality of losing the church facility. Because of this, we would like to come together as a church family to give thanks to the Lord and to remember the years of faithful and fruitful ministry that were conducted from our downtown facility by having a “Service of Remembrance” on January 21, 2007, at 3 pm in the courtyard of the church. Note: we have chosen this date for our service because it was on this precise day, 42 years ago, that the current sanctuary was first dedicated in a special service of consecration. And what better time is there to look back over these last 42 years, and ahead to the next 42, than this anniversary of the church’s consecration?

We are inviting several special guests to take part in this service of remembrance. Please make it a point to be there yourself.

1 comment:

Dianne and Woodie Mason said...

As former members of the Gulfport congregation, we would urge this congregation to pray for Guy and the members as they go through this service, which undoubtably will be difficult, and to pray for them as they go through the rebuilding and relocation process.