Monday (17th) is the 40th anniversary of Hurricane Camille, the most powerful storm (in wind speed) to ever make landfall in the US (at least in our recorded history). Sustained winds of 200 mph+, incredible destruction and loss of life.
I was eleven when Camille hit, living in Hattiesburg. It was my oldest brother's birthday. It was also the first night I ever stayed up the ENTIRE night, as we sheltered in the hallway of our new home, hearing the wind howl (it was about 140mph winds in Hattiesburg, 70 miles north of the Coast). Our house was ok, trees down everywhere but none hit our home. We were without power for a good bit of time, but otherwise ok. I won't ever forget my Dad taking us outside during the eye of the storm - it was the middle of the night, but you could see the cloud wall as we stood in the calmness as the eye passed over. Then the wind started picking up again, this time from the opposite direction, and we hunkered down again.
Two weeks from tomorrow (the 29th) is the 4th anniversary of Katrina, the most devastating storm in US history. While Camille destroyed 6000 homes on the coast of Mississippi, Katrina destroyed 65,000. It still boggles the mind, and helps us understand why so much is still not done.
Elsewhere here I have chronicled riding Katrina out and dealing with the aftermath, losing our church, etc. And while it is very true that much is left to be done - one thing IS done - our new church home! While we celebrated on Pentecost Sunday our first service in the building, tomorrow (Saturday the 15th) we will officially Dedicate and Consecrate our new home.
Bishop Gray will be joined by Bishop Howard of the Diocese of Florida (who spearheaded an enormous donation from that diocese to our rebuilding), and we will truly celebrate a grand accomplishment, made possible by the help of so many churches and people. We are truly blessed.
The service will be joyous and fun, and a BIG party is planned afterwards. If you are around, please join us. It's a time to bless and to celebrate!