In Katrina's Aftermath, Hope: 'We Will Recover from the Ruins'

Article excerpt

EPISCOPAL NEWS SERVICE

Gulf-port, Miss.

Surrounded by scenes of devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina, more than 50 parishioners of St. Mark's Church here were joined by police, military and relief workers Sept. 4, as they worshipped on the site where their church once stood.

"You are St. Mark's church," said Dean James Bo Roberts as he addressed the congregation. "You are the spirit of St. Mark's Church. It's you who have to stand for Jesus. It's you who will bring us back as we once were."

Built in 1846, St. Mark's is the oldest Episcopal church on the Mississippi coast and one of six that were completely destroyed after Katrina hit Aug. 29.

"Although the church is not standing physically," Bishop Duncan Gray III of Mississippi explained, "spiritually the church continues to stand and we will continue to do the work that God has called us to do."

Despite the dangers involved, Mr. Roberts remained in his Gulfport rectory as Katrina pounded the coast, because "I wanted to be where I could check on my people and be available to them. …