Pastor: Time and prayers to rebuild fire ravaged church

The pastor of a New Orleans church says it will take time and prayers to put their building back together.

Fire ripped through Rising Star Missionary Baptist Church on Hickory Street Wednesday night, after almost a century of Sundays

"It's a big, big deal this church is very popular," said Kenneth Collins, a neighbor of the church. "I've been here a couple of times. It's a mess. It's a catastrophe that's what we're looking at."

Pastor C.L. Franklin said he had just wrapped up bible study at the church after 8 p.m. last night when fire ravaged the church.

"Fire [was] coming from the back of the church and smoke everywhere you can see, and we just stood in unbelief but hey what can you do," said Franklin. "Reality comes in the morning when you got to walk through this stuff."

The sanctuary looks ghostly, covered in gray wet mush. Pictures of former pastors somehow managed to survive.

"It happened in our Fellowship Hall in the back. We have no idea they have not determined the cause of it," added Franklin. "They say in all probability an electrical fire started in the attic. But they don't know."

The Fellowship Hall is now open air. Charred wood shows the fire was intense here, but there is more at stake here than just bricks and mortar.

"It will hurt a lot if they don't fix it. It will not only hurt neighborhood, but whole community," said Kenneth Collins, a neighbor.

Recovery will be long, but there's a silver lining.

"We have insurance and that wipes away tears," said Franklin.

Faith, perseverance and volunteers will bring the church back.

"We'll take it in stride. We'll rise. No problem." Pastor Franklin is sure of it.

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