Restoring what was put asunder

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2007


On New Year’s Eve members of Morning Star Baptist Church brought in 2006 in their small, but quaint, sanctuary off County Road 20 in Boligee.

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However, when four young men decided to set fire to the house of worship on Tuesday, February 7, the members were left with a set of soot-covered cement stairs.

The place they once called a church home was now a pile of ash, but just as the Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church sign stood tall off the side of the road, the church’s members didn’t falter.

It’s been almost seven months since Morning Star was torches, however under the leadership of an interim pastor, the Rev. Jimmy Pounds, the suburban church plans to resurrect itself to a state even bigger and larger than before.

“The new sanctuary will be about 3.400 square feet and the old one was approximately 1,700,” Morning Star secretary Geraldine Sands said. “We will have the sanctuary and a fellowship hall, classrooms and a multi-purpose room that serves as a library among other things.”

Although Sands is excited about the church’s new structure, she was raised in the 94-year-old building and brought her children up in the same church.

“I’ve been secretary here for close to 15 years, but my mother went here and all my children had grown up at Morning Star. We had a lot of memories there,” she said as she recalled memories in the original church. “I can remember getting a call at about 5:30 that morning and I couldn’t believe it. I was horrified and devastated.”

But the devastation eventually turned to determination and the members joined together to plan rebuilding efforts.

After monthly meetings with the Pickens County Baptist Association, an affiliation of the Southern Baptist Association, members had collected furniture for a new structure and were offered a temporary answer to where they will have worship services.

“We have been having services in a double-wide mobile home provided by the Southern Baptist Association and the governor’s office was also instrumental in helping us get the mobile home,” Sands said. “The members have started to come back since we’ve been having services in the trailer and we’ve had three new members join since the fire.”

The smiles of Morning Star members got even bigger earlier this month when representatives of Birmingham Southern presented the church with a check for $53,000 to aid in the rebuilding efforts.

“Birmingham Southern had been working with all the burned churches,” Sands said, ” and they gave us $53,000 since our church had been completely destroyed.”

Sands said Morning Star leaders will meet with the architect within the next three weeks, after completing the blueprints for the new church. She also said a general contractor had already been hired for the project.

“They are starting to do the foundation now,” Sands said with excitement in her voice, “but everyone’s working together and we want to thank everyone who contributed and helped us in any way. We really want to thank the public for all they’ve done to help Morning Star rebuild.”

Once the actual structure is standing, Sands said they are looking for manpower to help do inside work such as carpentry and painting. To help rebuild Morning Star contact Sands at (205) 372-9420.