One day at a time as Greater Union looks to rebuild and recover two years later

St. Landry Parish

(KLFY)- The pandemic slowed, almost halting the rebuilding process but a member of the congregation tells News Ten Greater Union’s construction is back on track.

Sheryl Richard explains, “The initial date was October but due to the pandemic and rainy days, the workers couldn’t do a lot of things. It pushed us back.”

From losing their church of over 100 years at the hands of an arsonist to enduring a global pandemic, Richard says for two years Greater Union has been met with ebbs and flows.

“COVID hindered the materials coming in and then once they were in, it was finding ways to get it to us,” explains Richard.

In April 2019, 21-year-old Holden Matthews set fire to Greater Union, along with two other predominately African American churches.

Richard says, “What that fire taught us is number one, the building was just a structure. The real fire was in our hearts.”

She says although the rebuilding process has been slow, they are in capable hands of their construction crew from Baton Rouge.

“They are qualified to do the work,” adds Richard.

Richard tells News Ten recovery would not have been possible without support.

She says help came from all 50 states and across the world.

“We are blessed and thankful for generous donations from people in the community, across the nation, to allow us the opportunity to rebuild,” Richard continues.

In February of 2020, Holden Matthews pleaded guilty to three charges of violating the “church arson prevention act” and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony.

In November of 2020, he was sentenced to 25 years and owes 2. 6 million dollars in restitution.

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