BUNKIE, La. (KALB) - Nearly three years ago, in November 2016, David Haas Memorial Methodist Church in Bunkie caught fire due to an electrical issue.
But, Sunday morning the church was far from empty, as smiles and music once again filled its walls.
"Today we are celebrating the first service in the church really," said longtime member Caliste Rougeou.
Over the last 30 years Rougeou has seen the church as a second home.
"My wife and I raised our family in this church," Rougeou said. "We witnessed the destruction of the church."
The fire left all members in disbelief.
"You couldn't imagine a big brick building burning like it did," said longtime member Lynn Fogleman.
However, they never stopped worshiping together. Over the last few years they gathered in a back building that survived the blaze. But, Sunday it was time to make new memories in a familiar, holy place.
People from the Town of Bunkie, and all over, were committed to this rebuild.
"People from the other churches in the community, from the other towns, are coming to help us celebrate the reopening of our church," Rougeou said.
Fogleman said because of the outpouring of love and support, they don't owe a penny.
"Pretty good insurance, but from all over the country they sent money," Fogleman said. "We even got some money from Africa, everywhere."
Acts of kindness that gave Foglemann a new perspective.
"Really made me feel good about our country and I believe in our country," Fogleman said.
The church is also celebrating their 131st year anniversary and is counting on many, many more.
"Generations to come," Fogleman said. "For my great grandchildren."
Anyone interested to take a peek inside the church can attend their open house on September 14, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
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