‘A Caring Place for a Hurting World’ -- Calvary Chapel Bay St. Louis makes its new home in an unlikely place
By Geoff Belcher
Jan 11, 2013, 18:14
Calvary Chapel Bay St. Louis started out in a tent in a muddy field, serving food to storm-stricken souls, then moved to a one-time catfish house, but its latest location may be its most challenging yet: A former nightclub with a colorful reputation.
"We turned Club Red into God's house," Pastor Frank Griffin, III said Wednesday. "It's pretty amazing."
Calvary Chapel will host its first services at the new location in Shieldsboro Square, just off Dunbar Ave., this Sunday beginning at 10:10 a.m.
Church members and a group of volunteers from Illinois State University were hard at work Wednesday, painting and carpeting over the building's past – and preparing it for what they hope is a much brighter future.
"This is the beginning of the Bay St. Louis Dream Center," Griffin said. "We feel like God called us to do this."
Frank was a layperson, working at a family business when, as he says, the Lord called him to "step out in faith and shepherd" Calvary Chapel Bay St. Louis.
Griffin and his "bride" of 36 years, Terri, first came to Bay St. Louis from their home in Baton Rouge just days after Hurricane Katrina and fed local residents from a tent on Bookter Street for months.
Then God called him to start a permanent church in the area, which opened at 105 Reese St., adjacent to the Shieldsboro Square location.
The new location is vastly bigger, offering more than 10,000 square feet as opposed to the catfish house's 3,000.
"We waited six years for this building," Griffin said," when the Lord opened the door."
The additional room is going to help parishioners realize the "Dream Center" they're striving for, Griffin said, including space for a youth center, providing wholesome after-school activities for local children; an adult literacy ministry; and a training center to help people learn new skills for employment.
The church's philosophy is summed up by its motto, Pastor Frank says: "A Caring Place for a Hurting World."
"That's just who we are – we work to help people rise above. We are a faith-based organization, but at the same time, we realize we have to meet people where they're at. We take people from where they're at and help them rise above their current situation."
Calvary Chapel Bay St. Louis hosts worship services every Sunday at 10:10 a.m. It also hosts weekly meetings at parishioners' homes and maintains men's, women's and children's ministries.
For more information, call the church at 467-8375 or go to www.calvarybsl.org.