Thursday, December 27, 2007

Rebirth in Gulfport

Before Katrina

After Katrina


After more than 2 years at a temporary location at Handsboro Presbyterian Church,
the displaced congregation of St. Peter's by the Sea Episcopal Church have returned back home.

Church members with what they call the best view in town will celebrated Christmas 2007 here.

Hurricane Katrina's surge of 10 to 12 feet hit the gulf front church, but the upper infrastructure survived the storm.

Following hurricane Katrina many decided not to build back near the water, but not St. Peter's. Members said they felt a financial as well as moral obligation to come back to their chapel by the sea.

The 100 year old congregation is no stranger to the perils of mother nature.


On August 17, 1969, Hurricane Camille, the most severe storm on record,
hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Although badly damaged, St. Peter's quickly reopened its doors to feed and shelter as many survivors as possible. Sister churches along the Coast had suffered complete destruction. The Parish Hall became a headquarters for distribution of information and relief. Funerals were a regular occurrence.

In the mid 1990's, Mississippi Gulf Coast voters approved casino gaming and a large casino was soon built directly across the street from St. Peter's. The nature of the neighborhood changed dramatically, and "the sea" could no longer be seen from the church. In 1997, the Grand Casino bought St. Peter's property and the Building Committee looked ten blocks east and found a site for a new, gothicstyle church. On June 26, 2000, St. Peter's newest location, constructed by George P. Hopkins, Jr., and George P. Hopkins, III, was consecrated by Bishop A. C. Marble. The Dorhauer bell was once again hung in a tall bell tower atop the church.

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