GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A South Mississippi church marked a new beginning. Sunday, Gulfport's Morning Star Baptist Church dedicated its brand new sanctuary.
"Truly God has blessed us. It's been a struggle, but it's been a good struggle because of the God that we serve," said Pastor Dr. Lewis Ragins.
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed the old sanctuary, Pastor Ragins says he knew he had to rebuild. And while many churches moved north, Morning Star was committed to its Soria City roots.
"Our people had a mind to stay in this community. We know that there will always be people in this community and always people south of I-10. We want to be here to minister to them, and we truly believe that is a part of our calling," said Pastor Ragins.
Pastor William Shaw was a vital part of that rebuilding. That's because Pastor Shaw is the president of the National Baptist Convention. The organization not only helped the church and its members, it also helped members of the community.
"It's really a demonstration of the faith that we have claimed. The faith is not just a faith for good times, it is a faith for all times. When people confront disasters, their faith relationship with God sustains them in that and keeps them always with a sense of hope," said Pastor Shaw.