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Stories From Main Street: Union Baptist Church On Path To Rebuilding In New Rochelle

Union Baptist Church - New Rochelle, NY (file / credit: Union Baptist Church)

Union Baptist Church – New Rochelle, NY (file / credit: Union Baptist Church)

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NEW ROCHELLE, NY (WCBS 880) - The congregation of the Union Baptist Church in New Rochelle can be seen on their feet and raising their voices to God, but not in their own church.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams On The Story

On Valentine’s Day morning, Pastor Reginald Hudson was roused from his sleep at 1:30 a.m. by a phone call telling him the church was on fire.

“To this day, we do not know the cause of the fire. They know it wasn’t anything intentional. Just don’t know the cause of it,” Hudson told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.

Fire damage at Union Baptist Church - New Rochelle, NY (credit: Union Baptist Church)

Fire damage at Union Baptist Church - New Rochelle, NY (credit: Union Baptist Church)

Jean Anderson, a longtime member of the congregation, stood across the street and watched the century-old church burn.

“We were just numb. We were devastated, but after we regrouped, we sang, we prayed,” she said.

“Our trust in the Lord. That’s one of our favorite ones and, you know, we just started to sing and people looked at you like, well, ‘How can you sing and your church is burning?’ Well, I told them, you know, the building burned, but God didn’t die in the fire. So, we still had our hope,” said Hudson.

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

Stories from Main Street - Photo: Evan Bindelglass / WCBS 880

RELATED: More Stories From Main Street

Nearly a year later, architects are drawing up blueprints to rebuild atop a portion of the old foundation. They’ve managed to salvage some of the stone from the original structure.

“Our sanctuary will kind of be a replica of what we used to have, that nice theater shape, but in it we’re going to have all the amenities,” said Hudson.

“We just know that, in time, things are gonna work out,” said Anderson.

In the meantime, Trinity St. Paul Episcopal Church has opened its doors.

“We’re not even at our own location and our services are growing. People are joining,” said Hudson, who is grateful that because of this generosity, they have not missed one service.

The city and ShopRite have also pitched in. Donations are coming in from places like England and the Bahamas.

“Out of tragedy comes triumph,” said Hudson. “On Feb. 14, God gave us a test to say ‘Do you really believe what you learn?’ So, we’re excited about where we’re going.”

To donate to the church, click HERE.