South Side congregation gathers for Easter despite devastating Chicago church fire

Blaze ruled accidental; caused by crews using a propane torch while doing work on the building's roof, investigators say
CHICAGO (WLS) -- On the heels of a devastating fire, the congregation of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in the city's Englewood neighborhood is not defeated. Instead, they are coming together in celebration of Easter and with hopes to rebuild.

The congregation's Easter Day service shows no matter the location, you can take church just about anywhere you go.

"We understand that the church is the people of God. So, we don't stop moving," said one member of the parish.

"I've been pastoring 37 years. I've preached some of everywhere," added Gerald Dew, lead pastor at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

Worshipers were able to gather for holy services Calahan Funeral Home, where the owners opened their doors to the congregation.

An accidently fire Friday, sparked by construction crews working on its roof, left the historic Englewood church a loss.

RELATED: Fire at historic Englewood church reignites, Easter services moved after building destroyed

"We did weep on Friday. We wept last night. But, joy came this morning," Dew said.

Amongst the debris are memories the Burns family holds dear to their hearts.

"We've been members for almost 30 years," said Jesse Burns Jr. "Because my father's the head deacon, it's kind of hard."

"We were married in that church," added Carcena Burns. "It's really sad. That church has been in the Englewood community for a very long time."

WATCH: CFD update on Antioch Church fire

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Deputy Fire Commssioner Donald Walker gives update on massive fire at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Engewood.



But, within these ashes are hopes for a better future as the church's pastor said he will work to rebuild his church and return it to, once again, standing Antioch strong.

"We want you to share as liberally as you are led by the Holy Spirit," Dew said.

"We lose the history, but we gain through the development of the youth," Jesse added.

"There's still a future there, and hopefully the community will continue to support Antioch," Carcena said.
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