First Chalmette is halfway to its goal of raising $50,000. A donor pledged this summer to give up to $50,000 in matching funds.
CHALMETTE – First Chalmette is halfway to its goal of raising $50,000. A donor pledged this summer to give up to $50,000 in matching funds.
The money so far has come in mostly from Builders for Christ partners. Builders for Christ is a volunteer construction ministry out of Alabama that rallied its members to help with the construction of the church that was crippled by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
“I feel I should share perhaps a clearer picture of what our project entails,” wrote Pastor John Jeffries in a recent email. “Most people focus only on the church but the project has four parts to it.”
The first part is the reconstruction of the worship center/education/administration building, all under one roof. 2: The completion of a new building called The Annex, which is across the street from the primary facility. The Annex can be used to house volunteers, as a youth building, perhaps as a mission church, or other options; 3: The rebuilding of First Chalmette members’ homes, at least 25 of which are in various states of disrepair).
“We also participate, as do most of our SBC churches, with Operation NOAH in the rebuilding of 1,000 homes across the metro New Orleans area,” Jeffries wrote, as the fourth part of First Chalmette’s construction emphasis.
The original hope was that the congregation would return to its worship center by September 2007. March 2008 or later is now a projected re-entry date. The main building is perhaps 60 percent completed, the pastor guesstimated.
“There are many factors that are affecting and ultimately determining the actual “when” for us to return to our sanctuary located on the original site,” Jeffries wrote. “Pray for us. A real concern is that it could/would be pushed back to sometime in September 2008, a full three years after Katrina.”
“At present, at least as far as we are aware, we are working, to some degree or another, on seven member homes,” the pastor continued. “How fast we progress, and, how many homes we actually wok on and complete ‘by the end of the day’ has much to do with the level of financial support and the level of participation by volunteers. Volunteers have diminished greatly, hurting our ability to progress, and hurting others in our area who are also needing volunteer assistance.
“It is incomprehensible to me, but, with more than two years behind us our St. Bernard parish has only one SBC church – Poydras Baptist Church – meeting in their original sanctuary, and they just dedicated their building, as you are aware, in August,” Jeffries wrote. “I wish I could write that I’ve handled all of this as a gallant man of faith, but that has not been the case. I’ve experienced a great deal, learned a great deal, and, well, at least I’m still in the race.
“One of my life mottos is ‘keep running with patience the race that is set before me,’ the pastor continued. “One day I will cross the finish line, turn and look back and see that First Baptist, Chalmette, is there, ministering to the good people of St. Bernard, La.”