African American church in St. Landry Parish sets reopening date two years after it was destroyed by arsonist

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ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY) –The rebuilding process is nearly complete for Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in the same spot the old church stood for over 100 years, before an arsonist destroyed it two years ago.

Over two years ago, Rev. Gerald Toussaint and his congregation watched as their church was burned to the ground because of a hate crime.

But now they are only weeks away from opening their doors once again.

“Everything we’ve been through, COVID and everything happening in the world, we see a bright side.” Toussaint said.

The rebuilding process is nearly complete for Mt. Pleasant, the church that stood on Highway 182 in Opelousas for over 100 years, before it was destroyed.

“Compared to two years ago, moral is good, the people are excited.”

In April, 2019, 23-year-old Holden Matthews set fire to the church along with two other predominantly African American churches.

“I can’t get God to forgive me, unless I forgive someone else.” Toussaint said.

He tells News 10 that help in the rebuilding process came from all 50 states along with 20 different countries.

“Our lights are on, water is on. We are getting closer.”

He says the last two years have been difficult without a church to keep the congregation together but they found other means to stay connected.

“It’s hard when you don’t have something to keep people together, but modern technology helped us keep fellowship with one another.”

Reverend Toussaint says the bigger projects inside the church are complete with just minor touch ups left to do.

He says weather depending the church doors should open in just a matter of weeks.

“We have already talked about making sure people are safe and secure. temperatures checks and everything we have to do to bring as many members into the sanctuary.”


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