Meridian Church is recovering from Katrina.

By: Chris Brennaman
By: Chris Brennaman

Hurricane Katrina, like other natural disasters did not discriminate with it's path of devastation. Churches were among the buildings damaged.

St. Paul United Methodist is one of the oldest churches in Meridian, forming before the turn of the century. It's current building was erected in 1913. During Hurricane Katrina, a portion of the roof came off. But, the most significant damage that the church received has come in the weeks and months following the hurricane.

"LEMA furnished us with a lot of tarps and we had the roofing company come in and put the tarps down just to try to hold it until we could get a roof on there. Be still got water damage from that," said St. Paul trustee Eli Alexander.

One of the places that the water came in was right above the stairs on the third floor. When Katrina ripped the roof off, nothing could stop the rain from pouring in. According to Pastor Timothy Thompson, about 85 percent of the roof was missing following the hurricane. And, it took a while before it could be fixed.

"Most of the contractors have been tied up. That was the major inconvenience to us getting anything done. It's just not having anybody available to do the work. The hurricane came on the 29th of August. We just got a roof on our church about three or four weeks ago," said Thompson.

Despite having so much damage to the sanctuary, fellowship hall and Sunday school rooms, the congregation has not stopped using the building.

"The church council met and we made a decision that if we are going to redo our church, we needed to worship in it. So, with all the damage that we had, the flooded area, the wet sheetrock and all, we made a conscious and intentional decision to remain here in this building and to worship," said Thompson.

Among the other parts of the building that were damaged was the stained glass window in the steeple. Officials say that the window cannot be duplicated, but that one from the back will likely be moved to the more visible location in the front.


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