Historic church rebuilding after fire

Congregation rebuilding after church fire

HUGHES, Ark. (WMC) - Almost four months after a historic Arkansas church burned to the ground, some rebuilding is starting to happen.

Pastor Dedric Patterson never thought he would see a building starting to take shape.

“There were times when I'd be encouraging the congregation, but it the back of my mind I don't know where this is going,” said Dedric Patterson, pastor.

After seeing the 92-year-old church that nurtured generations in the Hughes, Arkansas community burn to the ground, you can’t blame anyone for being on the edge of losing hope.

Pastor Patterson is the leader of St. Mary Baptist Church.

While things are changing with the building, Sunday services never stopped.

“The Mayor of Hughes has offered the Community Center for as long as we need it. And we're grateful for that,” said Patterson.

The praying hasn't stopped either.

“I might need some knee pads I pray so much,” said Patterson.

The old church has been demolished and a new church is being built at the exact site on Tucker Road.

Pastor Patterson says a contractor offered up his services almost of no charge.

Still, materials need to be bought and the church is trying to raise money for them.

“It's a long way to go,” said Patterson.

Since the church doesn't know when all the money will be obtained to complete the project, congregants also don't know when the new sanctuary will be complete.

But as rubble from the old building lay in the parking lot, and caution tape still blows near the site of that devastating fire, the members of St Mary Baptist can finally focus on what is to come.

“I feel motivated now. At one point I was like, ‘ugh.’ But when you can see a product it gives you a whole different feeling,” said Patterson.

If you would like to donate to St Mary Baptist Church, you can do so at any Regions Bank in West Memphis and Marion.

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