LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A century-old church that could have been leveled will not be torn down.
When the congregation disbanded, the church went up for sale to the highest bidder. A new pastor leading a startup congregation is now working to restore the abandoned church.
Despite the necessities like running water and a reliable roof, Pastor Darrell Ray can't quit grinning about the future that lies ahead for Liberty Bible Baptist Church.
"We're just thrilled," Pastor Ray said.
Pews empty for more than a year will soon be filled with praise and worship after a previous congregation left. The church was for sale and Ray was searching for a sanctuary. He didn't even know the building existed until the last minute.
"I was riding the bus one day, and one of the bus drivers said, 'Did you happen to see the WAVE 3 news story." Ray said he read and watched the story on wave3.com and made plans to attend the upcoming auction.
Without historical restrictions, a new owner could have leveled the church. Instead, Ray is already planning a neighborhood revitalization. "People have needs. The economy is still struggling. We believe it's the church's role, not the government's duty, to assist people in need," Ray said.
Work is already underway to accomplish Ray's mission. A plumber will repair underground lines and volunteers have committed to clean up the mess left behind.
"An unreliable roof with flashing missing allowed water to blow in and, of course, water and stucco don't mix well so it causes all types of issues," Ray said.
Scars from previous storms are evident throughout the sanctuary. Part of the roof has fallen in from water damage. The stucco on the wall needs a little TLC, but the church is determined.
"We want to be a very multiracial, multicultural congregation," one that has an appetite to improve the Shawnee neighborhood, Ray said.
"We intend to have senior citizen meals, a soup kitchen -- we want to develop a Meals on Wheels program. We want to be integrated in the community," Ray said.
Liberty Bible Baptist Church will hold its first service on Sunday, October 28. Services begin at 11 a.m.
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