Gulfside Assembly

Established in 1923 by Bishop Robert E. Jones, Gulfside Assembly is a 60-acre retreat and recreation center situated in picturesque Waveland, MS, facing the Gulf of Mexico. In the 1990s, Gulfside was completely renovated, including a restoration of six original buildings and the addition of five new buildings. Its facilities serve as a meeting and retreat place for groups of 20 or more and can also be rented for reunions, receptions, weddings, banquets, and other events. An average of 5,000 people from all over the world come to Gulfside Assembly annually for retreats, workshops, worship, and relaxation.

Gulfside was constructed as an assembly place for African Americans during the Segregation era, as most resorts in the South did not allow access to minorities. Gulfside also served as the location of a boarding school for boys and a beach resort destination for African Americans, who were refused the right to swim at most beaches along the Gulf of Mexico. During this turbulent time, Gulfside acted as a safehaven for the planning of the Civil Rights Movement and the racial integration of the South. In 1980, Gulfside was dedicated as the 97th historical site of The United Methodist Church. It now serves as a place of fellowship for all faiths, races, and creeds.

Sources:

Dittmer, John. Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi. University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Green, Linda. Gulfside Center Bridges Segregation Era, 21st Century. GBGM News Archives, Feb. 17, 2005. http://gbgm-umc.org/global_news/full_article.cfm?articleid=3004

Soul of America.com. Gulfside Assembly. http://www.soulofamerica.com/resorts/gulfside.html

Volk, Kathleen. Excerpt from “Floating Downriver or Swimming Upstream?: An Examination of the 1964 Waveland Conference of the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee (SNCC).”Delta Epsilon Sigma (Alpha Chapter) Writing Contest, Vol. XX, May 2005. http://depts.loras.edu/des/Alpha2005.pdf

Wilkinson, Brenda. Gulfside Assembly Shines as Church Treasure. The Christian Post, Jan. 30, 2003. http://www.christianpost.com/article/church/146/full/gulfside.assembly.shines.as.church.treasure/1.htm

Wright, Elliott. Historic United Methodist Center Suffers Catastrophic Damage. UMC.org, Sept. 1, 2005. http://www.umc.org/site/c.gjJTJbMUIuE/b.1021311/k.AE6D/Historic_United_Methodist_center_suffers_catastrophic_damage.htm