Bellewood Baptist Church returns to old location
There's no place like home. And now, members of Bellewood Baptist Church in North Syracuse get to return to theirs. Two years ago a car crashed into the building, and it caught fire. Our Iris St. Meran tells us about the rebuilding process and what it means to the congregation.
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NORTH SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- You can call it a homecoming for members and friends of Bellewood Baptist Church in North Syracuse.
"It means so much to us to be back in our own space, on our own piece of property, in our own neighborhood, where we've been for years," said Music director Sarah Bradstreet.
Forty years to be exact, but change came in the fall of 2010. That's when a man drove into the church just hours before Sunday service. The vehicle caught fire, causing major damage.
They pledged to rebuild and did so with the help of volunteers from churches across the country. During construction, services were held in a vacant church a short distance away.
Bellewood Baptist Church Pastor Matt Hallenbeck said, "There's always struggles, but if we allow God to work in those times, we don't always get back everything we lost, but I believe God can bring us something new and many times bring us something better. I believe that's what we see here."
There's 7,000 square feet in here. Hallenbeck said this is beyond what he could have imagined. It's bigger space and has lots of meeting rooms, a kitchen, better fellowship hall and a bigger stage that can accommodate a band.
"Definitely a blessing in disguise," said Bradstreet.
The old building meant a lot to some longtime members. But they have pieces of it now. This cross is made of cobblestone that was taken from the old building.
"It gives us a sense of continuity knowing this is where we began and knowing we're still Bellewood even though we look different and do things differently as the years go by," said Hallenbeck.
As the years go by, some things will stay the same: their faith and commitment.
Most of the work was done by volunteers and with donations. The church is having an open house and celebration service this weekend to thank everyone who helped out.
To learn more about the church and services, visit www.bellewoodchurch.com