Burned St. Landry Parish churches slowly rebuilding

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OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) On the side of Hwy 742 in Opelousas, once stood Greater Union Baptist Church.

Arrest made in Louisiana church fires investigation

Two years ago, parishioners mourned as there church burned along with three other historical African American churches.

In November, Holden Matthews was sentenced to 25 years after admitting to setting the fires.

Holden Matthews sentenced to 25 years, owes $2.6 million for burning three Black churches

Today, Greater Union parishioners are steps closer to being back to where it all started over 130 years ago.

“We’re still in the stages of construction. We finally laid the foundation,” parishioner Sheryl Richard explains.

She says they hoped they would have been further along by now but alike the everyone else, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wretch into plans.

Richard continues, “It slowed down workers. Someone came up with COVID but more importantly the materials needed were held up.”

She says the two year journey hasn’t been easy for her church family but says thanks to the local community they never had to worry; they always had a place to gather and worship.

“There are people out there that love God, love the people of God and they are concerned about us. They opened their doors,” explains Richard.

Standing on the side of Hwy 742, Richard reflects on her own journey through this recovery period.

She says it’s her faith in god and support from her church family that motivates her to look forward to the fall when hopefully Greater Union Baptist can once again open their doors.

Richard adds, “Trusting God to keep us, sustain us, and protect us throughout this whole journey.”

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