By Gary F. Taylor
Special to the Advocate
President George W. Bush visited
President Bush visited the church April 27 to recognize Hands On Network, a volunteer organization operating from church property, as leaders in hurricane recovery work on the
Beauvoir UMC survived Hurricane Katrina with little property damage. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the church agreed to host Hands On USA, a secular volunteer organization. Hands On USA was housed in the
Due to security concerns, neither Beauvoir UMC nor Hands On Network was permitted to announce the presidential visit in advance. Security precautions required three days of preparation. Only a limited number of individuals were allowed to be present during the visit.
Bush was accompanied by Gov. Haley Barbour and his wife Marsha Barbour. They were greeted by Biloxi Mayor A.J. Holloway and Hands On Network operations director Erica Putinski. They were then introduced to the Rev. Marilyn Perrine, who welcomed them to church property.
President Bush then spoke at length with approximately a dozen Hands On Network volunteers, who described their experiences working in the field and their on-going concerns for the community. Bush and the Barbours then toured the outside campground and workshop.
“Our congregation is very mixed in its political views,”
Founded in 1956, Beauvoir UMC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. “We had originally planned a week long celebration,”
Beauvoir UMC has received many thanks from both the volunteers and the residents whose work they benefit, and Perrine was asked to deliver the prayer for the city at
“A lot of people tell us what a big thing this is for us to do, hosting this volunteer organization and having other congregations on property too,”
But it seems to us that we’re just sharing what God has given us to share. That’s the most important thing we can do.”