Church Re-Opens Doors After Arson Burned Down Building
Burned and left destroyed in an arson two years ago, a Centerton church is set to re-open for service Sunday in a new building at the same location.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said Minister Blake Lasater. “It’s given us a brand new beginning that a lot of people don’t get, so we are looking forward to Sunday.”
The original structure was built in 1921. Lasater said an arsonist was to blame for the fire. The Centerton Fire Department was able to extinguish the first fire, but the arsonist came back and set another fire, this time one that destroyed the church.
“The fire damaged so much of the mortar that we had to condemn it and tear it down,” Lasater said.
Blasting through many road blocks, Lasater and members of the congregation are now working on last-minute preparations for the re-opening of the church.
“We got a lot of stuff donated and a lot of our church members own businesses—they installed heating and our plumbing and electricity, so we were able to cut cost,” Lasater said.
There’s a cross inside the church that’s made out of the original flooring, and the outside bricks are also remnants of the past.
“We spent six weeks scraping, cleaning from the old building because we wanted something to tie us to the old structure,” Lasater said.
Megan Petty is one of the 120 members of the church that helped during the rebuilding process.
“It’s a little bit of work,” Petty said. “We tried to keep cost low, but also when you help out with something like that, you feel like you are part of it.”
Petty said she can’t wait for opening day. She said she will be teaching at Sunday school.
“There’ll probably be some tears, happy and sad, but a lot of happy tears,” Petty said. “You get that feeling of excitement. We finally made it; what happens next?”
Lasater said he’s looking forward to a new chapter. The rebuilding process cost about $700,000.
“Without the community, we couldn’t have done it,” Lasater said.
No one has been arrested in connection with the arson, but Lasater said he’s forgiven the person responsible.
There will be an open house Saturday Sept. 21 from 10 a.m to 1 p.m.