Coast pastors learn to use heavy equipment


After Hurricane Katrina many Gulf Coast pastors found themselves leaving the pulpit on Sunday mornings and picking up the tools of contract managers and laborers. In September they received forklift training for their new role in ministry to their church communities.


Trevor Bounds of Mississippi Power Co. led the training sessions that included a written test and hands-on training on the forklift. “Our training includes safety instruction, pre-use inspections and fundamental operational skills,” says Bounds. Deena Kuntz from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College organized the training.


By the end of training all 21 participants received their forklift certification; approximately eight of whom are pastors in the Seashore District of the Mississippi Conference. Training sessions were held at Nugent UMC in Gulfport.


The lay members receiving certification are currently serving as regional disaster coordinators, site and case managers. The training comes as part of the United Methodist Church’s Hurricane Katrina long term recovery efforts. The certified participants will also become part of the Seashore District UMC Disaster Response Team formed to respond to future disasters.