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Growing Loris parish breaks ground for new church building

LORIS — Four years of effort finally paid off for the Church of the Resurrection. On Feb. 4, the faith community broke ground for a much-needed church complex. The parish, a mission of St. James Church in Conway, had outgrown its building.

Bishop Robert J. Baker presided over an afternoon groundbreaking ceremony, which was attended by about 50 people including the mayor of Loris, David E. Stoudenmire Jr. Bishop Baker blessed the land and the people before breaking the ground with a shovel. A cross was placed on the property.

Jim Tresselt, chair of the mission’s expansion committee, said the new building will be about 6,200 square feet and will comprise worship space for 350 people, an office, meeting rooms, a large gathering space, a vesting room, and a “training room” for children.

The expansion committee studied several approaches to construction and settled upon a metal building with a stone chip finish. The cost of the project will be about $520,000.

Tresselt said, “We hope to complete financial arrangements by the end of February 2004 and to begin construction in March 2004, with anticipated completion by July 1, 2004.”

The Church of the Resurrection Mission began modestly in 1975. Father Emil Burke, pastor of St. James, celebrated the first Mass, a Christmas vigil, for eight families at a funeral home. Within a week, the congregation relocated to the conference room of a local bank, where they stayed for a year.

The next location was a cement block building that was made available by a local physician. The congregation stayed there until November 1989, when the building was declared unfit for a church. The congregation was disbanded, and the members dispersed to established parishes in Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach, Conway, and Whiteville, N.C.

In July of 1991, Father Chet Moczydlowski was assigned as pastor of St. James. That September, he began working with Catholics in the Loris community to re-establish the mission. Weekly liturgies — followed by potluck suppers — resumed in October of that year in private homes.

It wasn’t long until the congregation purchased a church building owned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After repair and remodeling, the first Mass was said in the new facility on Mothers Day of 1992.

Under the leadership of Father Rick LaBrecque, the current pastor of St. James, the mission began welcoming Hispanic Catholics to its community in the summer of 1995.

Bishop David B. Thompson gave the mission its very appropriate name — the Church of the Resurrection — and dedicated it on July 13, 1996.

The mission now has a number of ministries and Sunday Masses in both English and Spanish. Both populations are growing, and parishioners are spilling out the doors at the Spanish Mass.

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