PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - It's been 19 months since fire destroyed Greater Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Pascagoula. Out of those ruins, the church is now rebuilding. Members are eager to have a permanent home to worship in again.
Pastor John Davis Sr. and congregation still recall the sadness they felt when fire tore through the Greater Antioch Sanctuary in August 2010.
"My first reaction was my Lord, what has happened," Pastor Davis said.
"I thought they were playing a joke on me," Church deacon Edwin Quave said. "Then when I came down here and saw the church was on fire, I was amazed."
Nineteen months later, Greater Antioch is now being resurrected from the ruins. Tuesday, construction crews were on the Highway 90 property, pouring concrete and putting up steel to make way for a new church.
"I was really rejoicing because we were going to rebuild."
Deacon Edwin Quave treks to the site every day to watch the new building go up. He said the church, which has been around for more than a quarter century, had become a true staple in this community.
"We have about 1,500 members, and a lot of them are old now and can't go anyplace else, so we need a place to worship," Quave said.
Pastor Davis said when the church doors reopen; he'll be even better equipped to help the hopeless and hurting across Jackson County.
"Our plan for the future is to supply the needs, the spiritual needs and physical needs for the community," Pastor Davis said. "We are outdoors, so to speak. We need to come home. So we need a building to come home to."
If weather permits, the pastor said the church should be ready by the end of the year. Fire investigators have ruled the blaze accidental. The owners of the Grand Magnolia Ballroom in Pascagoula have opened their doors and allowed the church to worship at the facility since the fire.