Herald-Whig View

Antioch Baptist Church rises from fire's ashes

Posted: Oct. 31, 2017 10:00 am

ANTIOCH Baptist Church has turned a disaster into a positive.

A fire in December 2016 destroyed the 80-member congregation's house of worship on Antioch Lane, just outside Hannibal, Mo. But less than a year later, ground has been broken to rebuild on a lot adjacent to the property where the original church stood for almost 150 years.

The Rev. Jack Emmite and Antioch Baptist members have publicly said the months since the fire have allowed for a time of great reflection and planning. A "new" Antioch church will soon return with a redefined mission and commitment to its community.

Plans call for the congregation to be in its new building by the end of 2018. The new church, which will carry a price tag of about $1.5 million, will be three times as large as the previous one. The new Antioch site will include more space for such features as additional classrooms and expanded ministries.

Emmite said Antioch has always been a tight-knit, family-oriented church and that kind of connection has helped it through the past 101/2 months. Since the fire, church members have bonded even more deeply, especially with a supportive community.

Since the fire, the congregation has been holding its services at Hannibal Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Antioch officials have repeatedly thanked the Seventh-Day Adventists and other community members and organizations for helping the congregation through what has been a challenging period.

Emmite says plans continue to be discussed for new and expanded ministry possibilities and community involvement. He says there is a genuine excitement among church members to become even more involved with those around them.

Most important, church members have gone through the grieving process of losing their building and are now excited -- and committed -- to turning what was a disaster into a promising future.