CHICAGO (CBS) – Leaders of a historic West Side church said they will rebuild after a piece of their history came tumbling down during the blizzard of 2011.
The storm knocked a huge stone spire into First Baptist Congregational Church leaving gaping holes in the ceiling. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports on the congregation’s desire to make their church whole again.
Though it is not their spiritual home, Chicago’s First Baptist Congregational Church members didn’t let a change of location dampen their spirits.
“We are grateful no one was injured,” Reverend George Daniels told his flock. “But there is great work to be done.”
Walk into the sanctuary of the 140 year old church and you know right away what “work” Reverend Daniels is talking about; Holes in the church’s roof, left after that stone spire toppled over in last week’s blizzard. A miracle no one was hurt, leaders say, and amazing that many of the landmark church’s historic items were left unscathed.
Church publicist Wanda Washington says the spire’s stones fell about three stories, about a hundred feet, into a stairwell.
The building is steeped in history. It survived the Great Chicago Fire and some of the country’s renowned leaders, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior, have spoken from the pulpit. It’s one thousand or so current parishioners are nothing short of devoted.
Anna Willis says she’s confident the congregation can raise the money for repairs, “We are a resilient race of people. We are resilient in our citizenship.
“We can rise,” Reverend Daniels preached. “We can do it.”
Washington says a structural engineer came to look at the church last week and hope to have that report soon.
In the meantime, a fund has been set up at a nearby bank for anyone who wants to donate to the rebuilding efforts. It is called the Storm Damage Account and PNC Bank at 2154 W. Madison Street, Chicago, IL, 60612.