By Tamica Smith Jeuitt, Communications Specialist, Mississippi Conference
Photos right: The wind force separated the sanctuary walls at Sweetwater UMC. Church members living near Sweetwater discovered the damage. All pictures courtesy Sweetwater UMC.
The sanctuary at Sweetwater United Methodist Church in Wesson, Mississippi, is a total loss after strong winds shifted the structure about two feet from its foundation on Jan. 2, 2017. According to the pastor, Rev. Mark Allen, the church is more than 130 years old, and its long-standing beams could not resist the high winds.
For those concerned about the church, Allen offers the same words of comfort that he shared with his members.
"The people are God's church. That's a building, and we will get the building rebuilt. We are still here. We will be stronger than ever pulling together as a church family," said Allen.
The membership is at Sweetwater is approximately 40. While work to construct a new sanctuary is underway, the congregation will meet at regular service times in the fellowship hall that suffered minimal damage.
"We welcome anybody who wants to come and worship with us. It may be tight in the fellowship hall, but we will find a way to make room even if we have to overflow into the parking lot," Allen cheerfully stated.
Dozens of well wishes and offers for help continue to pour into Sweetwater. Allen, who has served at the church for the last five years, is grateful for the support.