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Mississippi Gulf Coast

 



Gulfside Assembly

Located on the Mississippi Gulf Coast just west of Biloxi, Mississippi

Set on 60 sprawling, picturesque acres, this resort was founded by African American Bishop Robert E. Jones of the United Methodist Church in 1923. Originally 600 acres, Gulfside was designed to allow access to quality education for Black boys -- living in residence -- from rural areas of the country, served as a day school for children from the community, and was a haven for beach-goers of color who were denied that pleasure elsewhere.

Although Gulfside continued to grow over the years, it suffered major setbacks from two natural disasters (a tidal wave in 1947 and Hurricane Camille in 1969), in addition to the dissolution of the Central Jurisdiction of the Methodist Church in 1968. However, in 1989 the resort began to experience a transformation which included restoration and renovation of the original six buildings (of which they are still in the midst), as well as the addition of five new ones encompassing administration, meeting, special event, residential, dining, reception and banquet, and other functions. Aiding the process is their current (as of the year 2000) $4 million Capital Fund Drive.

Accommodating groups of up to 120 lodging guests in Longmore Inn (however, no less than 20 with a few exceptions) and the Ernest T. Dixon Leisure Village for Older Adults, Gulfside is popular with numerous community, U.S., and foreign groups and organizations, colleges (including nine Historical Black Colleges and Universities), families for reunions, secular entities, and others (one day/evening events can accommodate about 1,000). Guests welcomed here have included Catholic priests, a family from Switzerland, and many international people related to the mission work training in the states. Gulfside also has their own sponsorship programs that attract all age levels, a hostel program six times a year, and a youth enrichment day camp (in Summer). Their busy time is usually weekends and occasionally during the week, especially in the Summer and in the Fall, because they host a lot of schools who are there on retreats.

In addition to the inviting, peaceful, secluded setting with the woods on three-sides, the Gulf shore on the last, Gulfside offers the unique experience of enjoying its rich history in a comfortable, beautiful, and ideal location.

Future plans for the resort include the addition of a chapel, expansion of the meeting and event facilities, a multicultural family life center, an assisted living complex for seniors and new housing facilities to increase their capacity which includes renovation of Bishop Jones' home -- a beautiful three-story structure at the rear of the property with 57 windows -- that will serve as a self contained retreat center for 30 people.

Gulfside Assembly welcomes those of all faiths, races, creeds, and colors, adhering to its mission as a non-profit agency of the United Methodist Church to serve both the church and community. For more information, contact them at 950 S. Beach Blvd, Waveland, Mississippi 39576, 800-485-7473; email: gulfsideassembly@earthlink.net
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