Special service set at Gulfside Assembly


Friends and supporters of Gulfside Assembly are invited to attend a special service of remembrance at the facility’s site in Waveland.

The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. Jan. 7.

Gulfside has a long history as a place of worship and refuge to African-Americans, particularly in the Southeast. During the turbulent 1960s, Gulfside was one of the few places African-Americans could gather without harassment. The retreat and camping facility has offered summer camp, retreat and other worship experiences for decades.

However, the facility was destroyed Aug. 29 by Hurricane Katrina. Not a single building survived the storm. The Board of Trustees has vowed to rebuild Gulfside.

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward has invited bishops from across the denomination to the Jan. 7 gathering. The Mississippi Conference Cabinet and the Commission on Religion and Race are also scheduled to participate in the event. The gathering will serve as the first stop on the 2006 Journey Toward the Light sponsored by the Commission on Religion and Race.


White to highlight King memorial

Bishop Woodie White, whose annual letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. address the state of race relations, will be the featured speaker when Millsaps and Tougaloo colleges observe the holiday honoring the slain civil rights leader.

Events are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Jan 16 with a breakfast at Tougaloo College. The breakfast is open but reservations should be made by Jan. 9 by contacting the Rev. Lisa Garvin at 601-974-1205.

White, who is retired, is scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of the Academic Complex at Millsaps. In addition to White, the Millsaps and Tougaloo choirs will perform. White’s annual letter to King gives his impressions of where the nation stands in regard to race relations. It is distributed by United Methodist News Service.


Indiana church shares in tragedy

Baker Chapel United Methodist Church, a small country church, has a heritage of caring for those in need in tangible ways, whether help is required in its southern Indiana community of Degonia Springs or in other parts of the world.

Recently, the church extended its assistance to the Gulf Coast for Main Street United Methodist Church in Bay St. Louis, whose building was in the “eye” of Hurricane Katrina, but survived. A praise and worship gathering and reunion of the Baker Chapel outreach ministry, Lighthouse, was scheduled at the church on Nov. 11, with the offering designated for the needs of Main St. UMC as it ministers to the devastated Bay St. Louise-Waveland area where most houses are condemned or gone.

Early on the morning of Nov. 6, however, a tornado ravaged southern Indiana and destroyed the Baker Chapel building. Despite the devastation, the praise and worship service was held as scheduled with the support of Main Street Baptist Church in Boonville, Ind., which offered its church for the event.

Lighthouse participants, many from out-of-town, gathered to sing, pray and praise God. As the church building lay in shambles, the congregation witnessed to its faith as the people extended the love of Christ to others in need with an offering for their “sister church” in Mississippi.

Former Boonville-area residents John and Judy Mayer of Diamondhead recently visited with some members of their previous church, Baker Chapel, and viewed the destruction caused by the tornado. They are members of Main St. UMC in Bay St. Louis.


Court Street to host kids’ choir

Children who have lost one or both parents to poverty and disease make up the African Children’s Choir.

The internationally acclaimed choir is scheduled to perform at 6 p.m. Jan. 8 at Court Street United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg. This year’s 26 choir members, ages seven to 11, come from Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. 

The concert includes well-loved children’s songs, popular gospel tunes and spirituals.  There is no admission charge for the concert.  A free-will offering will be taken at the performance to support African Children’s Choir education, care and emergency relief programs.


Church offers recovery programs

Gulfport First United Methodist Church will begin new sessions of its ongoing community outreach programs in January.

The Divorce Recovery Workshop offers support for persons going through the upheaval of a divorce or separation. The Grief Recovery Workshop provides a caring environment for those dealing with the aftermath of the death of a loved one. Workshop participants listen to talks by community professionals and then go into small groups for sharing and discussion. Both workshops meet on Thursday nights for 12 weeks, beginning Jan.19.

Broken Rainbow is a program for children and teenagers who are having difficulty dealing with a divorce or death in their family. The program meets for 10 weeks on Monday nights beginning Jan. 23. A support group for single parents meets during the same time.

All workshops meet at 7 p.m. in the Education Building of First United Methodist Church. Free child care is provided. The fee is $35; the families of Divorce or Grief Recovery participants may attend Broken Rainbow at no cost. For information, call 228-863-0047.


Mathison, Hathorn to lead event

The Rev. John Ed Mathison and the Rev. Dale Hathorn will be the keynote speakers for the Holy Spirit Conference 2006.

The annual event is sponsored by Cecil Williamson Ministries and is scheduled for Jan. 20-21 at Lake Tiak O’Khata near Louisville.

The Rev. Cecil Williamson and Grace and Gladness Ministries, featuring Lee Ann Williamson and Lori Smith, will also be part of the program, which is themed “Glorifying Christ in the Spirit’s Power.”

Mathison has been senior pastor for Frazer UMC in Montgomery for the past 32 years. Under his leadership Frazer has grown from 400 members to 8,100 members and has the largest Sunday school attendance in The United Methodist Church in America. He is a nationally known speaker. In 1994 he was selected National Clergyman of the Year. He has written four books.

A general evangelist, Hathorn served in the pastoral ministry for 15 years. He has led evangelistic mission trips to Mexico and the Ukraine. He is a member of the National Association of United Methodist Evangelists and is know as an outstanding revival preacher and song leader.

No registration fee is charged. To make reservations, call Lake Tiak O’ Khata at 662-773-7853.


Ministers’ Week makes changes

The Mississippi Conference’s annual ministerial continuing education event held in January has new dates and a new name.

The 2006 Clergy Leadership Conference, formerly known as Ministers’ Week, is scheduled for Feb. 6-8 at Alta Woods United Methodist Church in Jackson.

The theme for this year’s event is “A Time to Heal…”

A team of faculty from Duke Divinity School will lead the discussion.

Registration fee if received by Jan. 13 is $75 and $90 after Jan. 13. Registration is available online at www.centerforministry.com. 

Clergy in communities impacted by Katrina may contact their district superintendent for special registration arrangements.