Fundraiser for Lincoln church destroyed by fire - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

Fundraiser for Lincoln church destroyed by fire

Fundraiser for Lincoln church destroyed by fire

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Just over a year ago, on October 3rd, the Belmont Baptist Church - located north of 14th and Adams - went up in flames.

Just one of the victims of a string of arsons in the area, the 59 year-old church suffered nearly $400,000 in damages. 

"That was pretty rough," said Belmont Baptist Pastor Mike Kidding. 

"Especially for the members. It was a real sense of loss. It was a sacred space to them. They baptized kids, kids got married, you know - it was a really important space to them. So, it took a while to heal."

That healing is underway, in the form of reconstruction that is making things at Belmont Baptist look a little different. 

The sanctuary, which a year ago was blackened with smoke damage, is now newly clothed in white paint. 

The past is over, and Kidder says the church is looking towards the future. 

"We're going to gain a new sanctuary - about the same size - classrooms, gathering areas and even a coffee bar is what we're hoping to put in there," he said, describing the new building the church hopes to build. 

 "So it's going to be a really nice space."

The rebuilding is easier to plan than to pay for, however. 

"We're probably, in the end, going to have to raise $100,000 dollars," Kidder said.

"So it's like, 'wow!'"

With insurance footing only part of the bill - and a congregation of around 20 people filling the offering plate - the church is asking the Lincoln community for help. 

They're holding their annual potato bake, with the proceeds going towards reconstruction. 

The fundraiser is scheduled for Friday, October 20th, from 4:30-7:00 p.m., at 3424 North 14th Street. 

Adult meals are $6.50 and kids are $3.50, with loaded potatoes coming with salad, a drink and dessert and takeout available.

Last years event saw more than 300 people turnout, and Kidder says they're hoping for a similar number this year. 

The support, he says, is a Godsend. 

"Obviously it's a blessing," he said.

"It's just a real sign from God that we have support from the community and they want to help in some way. And we're just so thankful - and very grateful - for that kind of support."

As for the man who set the fire, Kidder says the church has no hard feelings. 

"We're still praying for justice and redemption," he said. 

"And we continue those prayers for the man who did this."

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