One year after suffering devastating fire, Englewood church gets $4M to rebuild

It's been one year since Antioch Missionary Baptist Church caught fire, but on Good Friday, the beloved Englewood congregation unveiled plans to rebuild.

"We go into the Easter Resurrection Sunday celebration with a great sense of hope that this facility will be resurrected," said Rev. Gerald Dew of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

Last year on Good Friday, the church was destroyed in an accidental fire after roofers used a propane torch while conducting repairs. No one was hurt, but the fire caused so much damage that the main building needed to be demolished.

Two remaining buildings were completely gutted because of smoke and water damage, and the church has been fundraising to rebuild ever since.

"It means so much because Antioch, again, is Englewood," said Joyce Barnes, chairman, Trustee Ministry, Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

On Friday, it was announced that Congressman Bobby Rush helped secure $4 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help with renovations.

"We want this facility to serve the Englewood community, the city of Chicago, as well as members of the congregation of Antioch," said Dew.


The project will be comprised of two main construction components – a new building of worship and an empowerment center.

"That center will house a gymnasium, meeting spaces, classrooms, cafeteria, computer lab, administrative offices and a special space for children and youth empowerment zone," said Dew.

Insurance money and nearly $350,000 in community donations will help cover the church's renovations, but Rev. Dew estimates they will still need to raise $3 to 5 million more.

"We’ll be raising funds until we cut the ribbon with the hope that when we cut the ribbon, there will be no debt," said Dew.

Robert Williams, president of PVM, Inc., the project’s design firm, said it is expected to go to bid next week.

Church officials are hoping that a groundbreaking will take place before this winter.