Letter: Gulf Coast pastor says thanks for aid



Thank you to the churches of Mississippi who paid more than 100 percent of the askings for 2005. I’m sure that I speak for all of us of the Seashore District who were so affected by Hurricane Katrina and so blessed by your giving.

First UMC in Gulfport had paid 100 percent for the past six years. There was no way we were going to be able to do that in 2005. We had 125 families who were displaced by the hurricane — some with houses completely gone, some flooded, some damaged by wind and rain.

When I read the names of the churches of the (Mississippi) Conference that gave over and beyond their regular giving to make a difference for all of us, I was moved to tears. I know so many of those churches. I know that for many of them it was a sacrifice to make a special gift to help us do our part. Because of that giving, Gulfport First UMC was recorded as giving 100 percent though in reality we were only able to give just over 53 percent.

You have given us hope and encouragement to continue the work. We have been bruised but not beaten. We know that we do not stand alone for God is with us and the people called Methodists in Mississippi are with us. I thank God for you all.

 Keep us in your prayers. We have much to do yet. 

Guss J. Shelly
First United Methodist Church, Gulfport