Handsboro Presbyterian preserves the old, looks to future

NANCY BAKER FAUL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALDHandsboro Presbyterian Church is at 1304 E. Pass Road in Gulfport.
NANCY BAKER FAUL/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALDHandsboro Presbyterian Church is at 1304 E. Pass Road in Gulfport.

When you look carefully at the building that houses Handsboro Presbyterian Church, you will notice its detailed wood features and its craftsman design. The church was formed in 1877 and today is pastored by Bobby Tyson.

When Tyson accepted the pastorate of the church, he knew there was a lot of work to be done both building the church membership and renovating the sanctuary and surrounding grounds. Tyson began his pastoral duties in 2001, and the membership has increased 95 percent from that first day.

The church is full of volunteers who focused on preserving the original features and details as they helped renovate the sanctuary, manse and gardens. Even the gazebo has been redone with a memorial bench added, leveled pavers and some fresh paint to match the sanctuary. The church building has a fresh coat of paint now that brightens the outside façade and interior work is nearly complete. The foundation had to be reinforced. The kitchen is getting a face lift and an upgrade to commercial appliances.

The original church burned in 1887 but was rebuilt in 1891 for a cost of about $50. During that rebuild, some of the original wood was incorporated back into the building. Those 138-year-old boards still grace the church today.

Beyond the renovations and preservation, church members give much of their time to helping people in need on an individual basis. They support the Gulf Coast Rescue Mission, Sue's House, Salvation Army and other local charity organizations.

Handsboro Presbyterian has adopted an elementary school on Pass Road and routinely takes supplies to help the students so teachers don't have to dip into their personal money to have everything they need.

Several retired pastors attend services at Handsboro, and Tyson enjoys seeing every person on Sundays.

"I preach from the Bible and try to give the congregation a sense of how the Bible relates to our lives today, verse by verse." he said.

Being the pastor of a church takes a lot of time and effort, no matter how large or small the congregation. In addition to serving Handsboro Presbyterian, Tyson is owner and operator of a tire and automotive shop in Ocean Springs. Kim Tyson, his wife, is the church secretary and a busy volunteer within the church.

Handsboro Presyterian has active ladies' and men's groups, and a new choir has been formed. For details on how you can join, call the office or stop by and enjoy one of the weekly services.

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