What Gulf Coast Congressman Gene Taylor wanted the Easter Bunny to bring him.
South Mississippi Living 4/07

Friday, September 14, 2007

Jewish hurricane aid tops $1.5M

Posted on Fri, Sep. 14, 2007

A New Year begins well: Congregation Beth Israel, celebrating its third High Holiday without a synagogue (services are/will be in Larcher Chapel at Keesler Air Force Base), received uplifting news this week.

The United Jewish Community, in its Hurricane Katrina Fund report, provided the following numbers with regard to recovery on the Mississippi Gulf Coast: the total funneled here exceeded $1.5 million, with $125,000 going to Beth Israel, and the rest going into the community because, says immediate past president of the congregation Steve Richer, "We wanted to help our neighbors. I think it captures the spirit of charity" that characterizes the High Holiday.

Recipients besides the synagogue were the Mental Health Association of Mississippi ($405,600); NY Board of Rabbis, for pastoral counseling and clergy support primarily in Mississippi ($334,400); Israel Trauma Coalition, rebuilding resiliency in Biloxi schools and among first-responders and public employees ($306,350); Hillel, for Hillel's Alternative Breaks to volunteer in Mississippi ($123,750); Jewish funds for justice ($100,000); Mount Sinai Medical Center, Mississippi Coast resilience and recovery programs ($88,482); KaBOOM! Operation Playground, Long Beach ($55,000); and Raven Transport, freight to transport donated beds ($2,756).

The seashell church checks in: The Rev. Gregg Barras, pastor or St. Michael Catholic Church on the beachfront in Biloxi, plays the waiting game these days, just like hundreds, if not thousands, of other rebuilders on the Coast - just like other Catholic parishes that will rebuild at the waterfront.

"We're one of five churches on the water," Barras said Tuesday, "and only one of those churches, Our Lady of the Gulf in Bay St. Louis, is repaired." St. Clare in Waveland, St. Thomas in Long Beach, Holy Family in Pass Christian - all are experiencing, to varying degrees, the same delays as St. Michael.

"We're waiting for all the estimates to come in," Barras said, "because we cannot start until we have them. Then we have to go to the Chancery Office for approval and then to the city for permits... . We can't force any of these processes, but we are much closer and near getting all of this together."

He reminds us all, St. Michael parishioners in particular, of what he believes is truly important: "The value of community, and how that grows much stronger every day.

"You can have the most beautiful church in the world, but you don't have that spirit, what do you actually have?"
Groundbreaking scheduled: The First Baptist Church at 322 East Second St. in Pass Christian has planned a groundbreaking celebration for Sept. 23. The day's schedule will include an 11 a.m. morning worship, dinner at 12:30 p.m. and the ceremony at 2 p.m.

Expected for the occasion are representatives of the Mississippi Baptist Convention, city leaders and representatives of more than 50 churches who in some way have partnered with the church in its rebuilding efforts.

Since October 2005, just two months after Hurricane Katrina, the congregation has met on its Second Street property, first in a tent and later in a refurbished education building.

Ground will be broken for the sanctuary and a 3,200-square-foot preschool building, the former being rebuilt with donations from many sources and volunteer labor, the latter made possible by a donation from Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston.

More relief acknowledged: Annette Marquis, district executive for Unitarian Universalist churches of North and South Carolina, eastern Georgia, eastern and central Tennessee and Virginia, spoke Sunday at the Gulf Coast Unitarian Fellowship about social and economic justice during times of national crisis. The Unitarian Universalist churches solicited a national response of more than $3.5 million in direct relief to the region following Hurricane Katrina, in addition to the efforts of the many hundreds of volunteers who have been to the Coast since the hurricane. The Gulf Coast Fellowship is in the Bayou View area of Gulfport at 76 48th St., Suite B. Visit for more information or call 868-1233.

Originally posted here on September 14, 2007.

Return to A.M. in the Morning! Home

No comments: