History of the Chalmette church of Christ
The Chalmette Church of Christ, located in Chalmette, Louisiana, had its beginning in 1965 as a result of a hurricane named Betsy, which flooded approximately one-half of St. Bernard Parish with anywhere from a few inches to six feet of water.
After Hurricane Betsy, the Lord's church from all across the country sent an unbelievable amount of aid and supplies, which were distributed to a large number of people in need, which in turn produced a great deal of good will among the people. Prior to the storm, a large number of Christians traveled to the adjoining parish of New Orleans for church services, with the desire to have a local congregation that would serve our needs and better reach out to the community, especially now, after the good will generated by the generosity of the Lord's church had demonstrated what Christian works are all about.
A group of men stepped up and began the work of starting a local congregation. The Masonic Lodge in Arabi (a town adjacent to Chalmette) was rented for church services and so began what is today the Chalmette Church of Christ.
With a place rented to hold church services, the men began to plan the how, when and where we would have a building of our own, dedicated to the Lord's work. A piece of ground was purchased in a new subdivision called Village Square. In 1969 the church began to meet in a new building called Village Square Church of Christ. The name was later changed to Chalmette Church of Christ.
On August 29, 2005, St. Bernard Parish was again devastated by a hurricane. Katrina hit with a fury of wind and flood waters not known in recorded time (except the flood of Noah's time). The church building was destroyed, as was most of the parish, the remaining suffering major damage.
The Elders were determined that Katrina would not be the end of the Lord's churh in Chalmette. So began the work of renovation. The structure was gutted, about one foot of mud was removed, and a section was wrapped on four sides and the ceiling in what became the "famous blue tarp." Although the "building" was little more than a tent, the church could once again hold services.
At the first meeting in the "tent," seven persons were present. This group became the first religious gathering of any kind to meet within the parish after the storm.
On November 20, 2005, a homecoming was held. With only a few weeks notice seventy-four people returned from far and near, (some as far as Washington D.C.) to be together again. It was a great reunion and time to worship God together and thank Him for seeing us all through a most difficult time.
There was never a doubt that the church would rebuild, but the how and when was another question. Although the brick walls had fallen, the structural integrity of the original auditorium remained. It was decided to salvage this structure and let it become the first section of the new facilities. Now began the plans needed for both the short and long term. Additional classrooms and a larger meeting area were desired. The existing auditorium structure was divided into six classrooms and a meeting area acceptable for the short term. A new auditorium, adjecent to the existing strucrure, was in the plans.
The Lord once again came to our rescue-He is always there for His children. Without Him we would not have been able to do the job. Over the next few months, groups of various sizes from over twenty states came to help get the short term facilities built. These people gave generously of their time, at their own expense. We owe a great deal of thanks to each of them. There was still more to come, from all across the country, the Lord's church sent funds to help rebuild, one contribution coming from as far away as China.
A new lectern was handmade and given to us by Jessie Tenpenny of Murfreesboro Tennesse. It has been used on numerous occasions by the community, including a presentation at Chalmette High School by First Lady Laura Bush.
On November 20, 2006, the new facility being completed and the church met at 2:00 P.M., with almost a full house for a dedication service. It was one year and eighty-three days after the devestation of Hurricane Katrinai.
Now as history and the present merge, the Chalmette Church of Christ, its Elders and entire congregation, would like thank everyone who contributed to our rebuilding effort. Whether it was through prayers, time or money, they all served the church well and had a part in spreading God's Word in Chalmette, the surroundring area and whatever other areas of work we may now try to help.
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