Englewood church leaders lay out plans to rebuild Antioch Missionary Baptist
CHICAGO - While crews knock down Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, the plans to rebuild on the same spot at Englewood and Stewart avenues, were announced Thursday morning.
Ministers from around the city pledged support.
Demolition crews have been drilling into the stone walls and pushing debris into the building, to safely take apart the large structure.
Antioch Missionary Baptist Church caught fire on Good Friday after service, the result of a torch used for roof repairs. The fire rekindled over several days.
The structure was determined to be a hazard to the neighborhood. It could collapse.
Pastor Gerald Dew said only the cross-shaped sign could be saved.
Dew evoked the resurrection of Jesus when talking about the new construction.
"You're tearing it down," he said. "We will raise it up again. Right here for Englewood and beyond."
Congressman Bobby Rush said the church had a profound impact on many generations of neighbors in Englewood.
"Antioch provided encouragement to so many youngsters who are trying to find their way, on this journey called life," Rush said.
Dew said Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago Public Schools made it possible for services to be held at Urban Prep Charter Academy across the street, until a new Antioch rises. He estimates it will take two years to rebuild.