Scripture tells us that challenges and difficulties should be seen as opportunities to experience God’s love and strength.
As 2005 draws to a close, the Mississippi Conference has seen during the year how true those scriptures are. In fact, that truth will continue to be manifested for years to come as the state recovers and rebuilds from the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.
The Aug. 29 storm was the biggest news for
The storm impacted the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church in several ways. Five churches and one parsonage sustained catastrophic damage, while another 17 churches and 13 parsonages suffered major damage. Twenty-eight pastors’ homes were rendered uninhabitable. Gulfside Assembly in hard-hit Waveland was leveled. Seashore Assembly and Moore Community House in
In the midst of the overwhelming storm, United Methodist churches and individuals responded quickly. While federal and state relief efforts have come under criticism for their response, church groups have drawn high praise from those impacted by the storm for providing food, clothing and shelter in the days immediately following the disaster and on a continuing basis. United Methodist churches outside the impacted areas served as shelters for displaced residents for weeks after the storm. Others gathered vital supplies, while others provided the means for transporting and delivering the goods.
Work teams from across the state and the nation have come to the Gulf Coast to provide help clearing de
Even as the
Other key news events from 2005, in no particular order:
Early this year, the Rev.
Tied to the ministry teams are five “key result areas” offered by Ward. They include mission, congregational development, strengthening small membership churches, racial reconciliation and wellness among clergy, laity and congregations. Ministry programs have been and will be developed with the foci in mind.
One action taken relating to mission is the opening of the field office for the Society of St. Andrew. Early in the year, conference leaders approached SoSA, a hunger relief organization with ties to The United Methodist Church, about opening a field office in the state. An offering taken at Annual Conference in June provided necessary funds for opening the office. Last month, Bob Fritchey was named regional director for
Few consider insurance an exciting topic, but it is an important one. During the first part of 2005, the Mississippi Conference Board of Trustees voted to join United Methodist Property and Casualty Trust (UM PACT), a company formed by the General Council on Finance and Administration and several conferences to provide insurance to United Methodist churches and organizations. Later in the year, after reviewing conference churches’ insurance coverage, the Trustees asked
The conference approved the plan and also held a worship service that reflected on Hurricane Katrina with words of thanksgiving and hope.
The Commission on Religion and Race toured several key sites from the civil rights era to learn and listen to those directly involved.
In June, a
The three men were killed after they came to
Killen, then active in the Ku Klux Klan, was one of several men tried on federal charges in the killings but acquitted. No state charges were ever filed. Late in 2004 the state filed murder charges against Killen, 80. He was convicted on three counts of manslaughter and sentenced to three consecutive life terms.
Several United Methodists were members of a coalition of