The burnt church rises from its ashes


The Mt. Pleasant Baptist Missionary Church, one of three predominantly black churches that was burnt down by an arsonist, is in the final stages of reconstruction.

This comes more than two years after the destruction of the church.

KATC spoke with members of the contracting team tasked with assisting in the rebuilding process of Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday afternoon and was successful in securing permission from the pastor and general contractor to give the viewers get a glimpse of the state of affairs.

“Miracles happen and that’s what happened to us,” said church pastor Reverend Gerald Toussaint.

The premises are still under construction, but the lights are on and the water is already flowing. All of this reconstruction is taking place in the same area where the church stood for 100 years before it burned down over two years ago when Holden Matthews, a 23-year-old arsonist, set fire to the church and two other predominantly black churches. what Matthews claimed was a hate crime against Christians, having nothing to do with race.

Toussaint said he and his congregation were delighted to be in the final stages of what he considers “rising from the ashes” – noting that the church is expected to reopen in January or February 2022, taking COVID precautions – 19, as well as the latest security measures into account.

“When you see the parking lot finished, then we’re almost done,” Toussaint said.

Toussaint noted that new things to come to the church in addition to a modern appearance include new technology that will allow services to be streamed live online – something he said they didn’t. never been able to do it before.

KATC also spoke with Zack Stephens, an air conditioning technician and electrician on the on-site subcontracting team on Wednesday – Stephens Contracting Company in central Louisiana. He said he was happy to be part of this project on which they have been working for several months.

“I’m pretty big myself in church, you know and I couldn’t imagine something like that happening at my church, you know,” Stephens said. “I can imagine how devastating it was for this church, the church family and the pastor himself, you know, but it’s just an honor to be able to help the pastor.”

Toussaint told KATC this reconstruction cost much more than expected due to supply chain issues during the pandemic, but each of the three churches received around $ 860,000 from an international GoFundMe in 2019, the year where the fires occurred.

The Reverend said he would like to thank everyone who helped make this possible through donations and prayers – noting that his congregation will continue to pray for the rebuilding process every Sunday.

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