Seashore needs site for new church

12/5/2006

Special to the Advocate

 

For 15 years, Seashore Mission United Methodist Church has worked at rebuilding people and their lives. 

 

Its name reflects that it is more than a church. It is a mission and one done with love and dedication. Housed in a small church building made of concrete blocks on Howard Avenue in Biloxi, it clothed and fed thousands of homeless people and not only gave them a place to rest, sleep and eat, but an opportunity for a new beginning. They could take a shower and do laundry, but they could also clean up their lives. They felt the Christian love and welcome as they were supported and guided toward building a new life.

 

Hurricane Katrina destroyed that building, leaving only the slab.

 

As the storm bore down on the Gulf Coast in August 2005, most homeless were taken to different facilities for shelter. Twelve remained at Seashore Mission Church. Six of them were staff members who were once homeless, and they lost their lives.

 

Those involved in this ministry have been busy working to rebuild a facility for the homeless people. Their purpose is not just about rebuilding a church building, but building people. And for this, land is needed.

 

Many coast residents have found how difficult it is to be homeless when they lost their homes in Katrina. Most of them have the opportunity through FEMA, grants, the Small Business Administration and insurance to rebuild.

 

Seashore Mission needs help making sure the homeless on the Coast who did not get a FEMA trailer, have no tent and are often living in cardboard boxes can also have a place to live and food to eat and a chance to begin again.

 

The Board of Trustees, pastor the Rev. Elijah Mitchell and others are asking for help in their search for a new site, approximately two acres, where they can put a 9,000-square-foot building in which the homeless can eat, sleep, worship, receive counseling and training while building their futures.

 

Location is important. Seashore Mission hopes to find land in Biloxi, Gulfport or D’Iberville and in an area where the homeless can be served. Preliminary plans are drawn for the new facility, and architect Gary Dunn is waiting to complete those, but cannot proceed until the land is available.

 

“We have an opportunity through the ministry of Seashore Mission Church to make a difference not just in one person’s life, but for many,” says the Rev. Bill McAlilly, Seashore District superintendent. “Together we can make this world a better place.”

 

All donations are welcome; however, land is the most pressing need. Seashore Mission asks for prayers and assistance. The church asks that supporters talk to friends, relatives, realtors, city leaders and fellow church members about this need so that it may join in the Mississippi Gulf Coast “come back” for those who just need a helping hand.

 

How to help

Contacts for the Seashore Mission Church rebuilding effort: 

Rev. Elijah Mitchell
P.O.Box 1279
Biloxi, MS 39530
228-234-2814
seashoremission@peoplepc.com  

Seashore District Office of the United Methodist Church
1509 24th Ave.
Gulfport, MS 39501
seashoredistrict@bellsouth.net 

Jack Ramsey
89 Serene Hills
Hattiesburg, MS 39402
seashoreUMC75@comcast.net 

J.D. Matta – 13002 Pulpwood Rd.
Ocean Springs, MS  39565
jdmatta@cableone.net