A mural depicting Jesus Christ inside a church that was demolished by a raging fire had miraculously survived, inspiring the community around it.
Several recent fires have destroyed the beloved Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois, but a cherished mural inside the house of worship that depicted Jesus Christ remained unharmed. Naturally, the miraculous event had made headlines and inspired many.
Faithwire reported that the mural that did not sustain any damage depicted Jesus Christ's resurrection, with angels around Him as he ascended. It also featured text from Luke 24.51, which read, "While he blessed them, He was parted from them and carried up into heaven." What made it even more fascinating was that the fire occurred on Good Friday.
The Chicago church's Pastor Gerald Dew believed that the mural's survival was God's way of reminding people that Jesus will come again, just as the Scripture said. The pastor found comfort in the mural's survival from the Good Friday fire.
"[Jesus] promised he would return and so, so, just as he is risen and has ascended, we believe we will rise from this," Pastor Dew told WLS-TV. He added that he is just beginning to process all that has been lost in the fire as the church collectively picks up the pieces and moves on from the tragedy.
According to Block Club Chicago, the demolition of the historic Englewood church along 6248 S. Stewart Avenue began on Wednesday. Demolition crews began tearing down the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, which had been around since the 1880s.
During the afternoon of Good Friday last week, a fire broke out after the church service. On Saturday, the Office of Fire Investigations revealed that a roofer's propane torch had accidentally started a fire, which destroyed the roof of the century-old building. All that was left was a single pillar and shattered windows. It took firefighters at least three days to put out the fires, as fallen material from the roof kept rekindling and setting more fires ablaze.
"The Department of Buildings has determined that the Antioch Missionary Baptist Church is not structurally sound and poses a potential danger to surrounding buildings and public safety," the mayor's office's deputy press secretary Amanda Bolton reported.
The church's congregation worked hard to preserve the building throughout the years and even did renovations often. Now, they are looking to rebuild a new church in Englewood. Rev. Michael Walton remarked, "From this comes new birth, new life and a lot of potential and possibilities of building a new facility for the next generation."
Rev. Walton added that there were a lot of good memories in the Chicago church, including baptisms and weddings. He added that many congregants have been coming to the same church for the last 60 years. He called the tragedy "devastating" but remained hopeful for what was to come for the church and its congregation.
The Chicago church's resilience is reminiscent of First Cedar Valley Baptist Church's, as the Salado, Texas church was recently demolished by an EF-3 tornado that passed through Bell County. Despite the destruction of the church, its ministry and congregants held Easter service right by the remaining debris. A cross had also survived the destruction brought by the tornado.