Meshach's Carpenters rebuild Pearlington UMC in 8 days

7/2/2007

They broke ground on Father's Day and, five days later, a steeple was in place atop the new Pearlington United Methodist Church.

Building a church from the ground up in eight days is nothing new for Meshach's Carpenters. They accomplished the same task in June 2006 for Clermont Harbor United Methodist Church in Waveland.

Meshach's Carpenters began as a Volunteer in Mission team from Goldston, N.C., organized in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd flooded many homes in North Carolina.

"We started out with the idea of working two or three weekends to get that 'feel-good sensation,'" said Charlie Fields, the group's team leader and a member of Goldston United Methodist Church. "Fifty-two weeks later, we had worked over 48 weekends out of the 52, and today over 30 churches are involved."

Starting with a group of 20, Meshach's Carpenters now have more than 100 volunteers, and the group has grown from two churches to more than 30, including other denominations.

"Meshach's Carpenters is equipped with tools and a willingness to work," Fields said.

United Methodists in Mississippi are glad to have help from the group after Hurricane Katrina flattened most of the state's coastline in 2005.

Pearlington was one of the hardest hit communities, and many homes and businesses were flooded and lost. Churches were not immune to the storm's devastation, either.

Pearlington United Methodist Church opened its doors in 1813 and has served as a center for worship for generations of families. The original building was lost to fire in 1930, and Hurricane Katrina destroyed the second structure. Nothing could destroy the worshiping community, however.

"Right after the storm, we met on the front steps with the few folks who were still here," said Minnie Giveans, who has been a member of Pearlington since 1954. "We've grown to 35 members now and started meeting in the parsonage once it was built back on the slab."

Fields and his team have returned to Goldston, but some work continues on the Pearlington church as volunteers from Mt. Bethal United Methodist Church in Marietta, Ga., complete the building's interior.

On the home page of the Meshach's Carpenters Web site (www.meshachscarpenters.org) are these words: "All things done in God's way, in God's will, will never lack Godly supplies."

Giveans agrees. "I can't put into words what this means to this community. God is so good. It is the love of God that brought it back."