Page 30 - Hancock County Tourism ~ 2021 History
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Do you know about...
the Valena C. Jones Memorial United Methodist Church
A small group of African- American women founded the St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church in 1880. When they outgrew their small building on Washington Street, members relocated to a larger place on Sycamore Street. An early 1900s hurricane damaged the building and this, coupled with an ever-growing congregation,
led members to construct a new church at its current location, 248 Sycamore St. The Gothic Revival-
style structure was built in 1926, and was named after Valena C. Jones, daughter of one of the founding members. She was born in 1872, grew up with a love for teaching, and began teaching school in rural Mississippi. By 1892, she was the principal of the Bay St. Louis Negro School. She also taught for a short time in New Orleans.
She was married to Bishop Robert E. Jones of New Orleans,
who was the first black bishop elected as General Superintendent of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was the driving force behind the establishment of the Gulfside Methodist Assembly, a beachfront retreat center in Waveland for African-Americans.
Ms. Jones died in 1917. Several public schools are named in her honor, including the Valena C. Jones School on Old Spanish Trail.
   Valena Cecelia McArthur Jones (Photo/Louisiana Photograph Collection and New Orleans Public Library)
The Valena C. Jones Memorial United Methodist Church (Photos/The Shoofly Magazine)

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