Pine Belt worshippers delight in renovated church

By Colleen Donovan - bio | email

HATTIESBURG, MS. (WDAM) - Pastor Dennis Rhoads of St. John Lutheran Church in Hattiesburg is excited to talk about the renovations his church has gone through.

From fine tuning the sound system, installing a new organ, laying down new floors, and refinishing and upholstering the pews, the sanctuary and other parts of the church have experienced big changes.

Rhoads said, "Well what it's really helped me to do is I lead the congregation in worship, it has helped me worship in a better way myself because a lot of times the pastor is working. But in this new space and the remodeling and everything, it just helps me to keep focused on the Lord and not the job of worship."

He said other improvements include replaced glass, a newly painted exterior, landscaping and a new parking lot. That is something the church really needed.

"Which is very exciting because parking, if somebody can not park, they are not going to come in and worship with you," said Rhoads.

The sanctuary can also accommodate more people. About 130 members come to regular Sunday services, but now 180 can be seated comfortably. Palm Sunday was the first time the renovations were unveiled to the congregation.

Rhoads said, "We started in the fellowship hall. That's where everybody gathered and we got our palms, and then we marched in waving our palms singing Hosanna to the Lord, and they saw the finished product for the first time and it was just powerful."

The renovations took several years to plan for and now St. John is starting a fund raising campaign to pay for their remodeled church.

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