New Hope holds ceremony to dedicate facility

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 9, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; With their brand-new sanctuary filled to capacity . . .

With praise teams dancing through the aisle . . .

With soaring music from more than 40 choir members accompanied by a full band . . .

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And with dozens of dignitaries, from Gov. Ronnie Musgrove to Archbishop Earl Polk Jr., in attendance . . .

Members and friends of New Hope Missionary Baptist Church gathered in worship on a bright Sunday morning and raised their hands to the sky to dedicate their new church building and to praise God &045; in a big way.

&uot;This is such a special day in our lives,&uot; said Bishop Stanley Searcy, addressing the hundreds that filled the pews and lined the walls. &uot;Let’s rejoice and give God the praise and the glory.&uot;

But for all the opulence of the new building &045; which dwarfs the old church building that still sits beside it on Morgantown Road &045; those who spoke at the service said the church’s mission should extend to far more than just facilities.

&uot;This (church building) is another edifice of opportunity,&uot; Musgrove said. &uot;But I’m absolutely convinced Š that this beautiful building has been built in vain if these doors aren’t open, if people who come don’t feel warm. The Bible says that where there is no vision, the people perish.&uot;

In that same vein, Musgrove used the podium to talk about the vision he has had for Mississippi &045; a program he noted has brought a 5,300-job Nissan plant, teacher raises and computers in every classroom. &uot;If we want jobs, we’ve got to Š focus on our schools,&uot; Musgrove said.

Searcy agreed, adding that New Hope itself plans to redouble its efforts to reach out to the community. That even extends to the economy, Searcy said, adding that he wants to help get 300 new jobs to the area in three years.

&uot;It’s not our mission just to have a big church,&uot; Searcy said, &uot;but to reach beyond these four walls.&uot;

In delivering his sermon, Polk &045; an archbishop in the International Conference of Charasmatic Churches, in which Searcy was ordained &045; admitted the new building is beautiful. &uot;It’s a glorious place to honor the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords,&uot; Polk said.

But he went on to say that while New Hope owns the buildings themselves, the church &045; that is, the Christian people themselves &045; is God’s. And in the end, what is important is not the bricks and mortar and boards themselves, Polk said, &uot;but the power of God working through us to touch lives and change hearts.&uot;