From the ashes rises a new hope

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2003

In October of last year Sandridge Missionary Baptist Church burned down. The only things remaining were a bell and the building’s cornerstone.

Teams of volunteers are changing that as you read this editorial.

It began Aug. 1 with team No. 1 tackling the foundation and framing. Last week the second team began work on a sidewalk, the dry-walling, kitchen and minister’s study.

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This week a new team is on the job continuing the work of the previous two. If things go as planned, the church should be opening its doors in October.

The volunteers come from California and spend a week of their summer in the humid Alabama heat. Adults must take time off from their jobs. Teens lose a week of their summer vacation.

Heinberg came from Temple B’nai Brith in Santa Barbara. Another volunteer, Lloyd Saatjian, came from First United Methodist Church of Santa Barbara. Christians and Jews traveled from the west coast to drive down a dusty country road and work some eight-odd hours a day on a church they had never visited before.

And to that we say: Thank you.

Volunteers such as Heinberg and Saatjian pick a different church each year damaged by fire. We wanted to extend our gratitude that this year they chose one of ours.

Last week’s volunteer team proves that volunteerism isn’t limited to any one creed, race, income bracket or geographical location. Deacon Lorenza Carter worked side-by-side with the California volunteers as well as a local construction company which had volunteered its time and energy.

The repairs on Sandridge Missionary Baptist Church showed us stereotypes aren’t always the rule. It showed Christians and Jews working in harmony. It showed that people honestly do want to help others.

And, just as Heinberg said, it showed opportunity and worth.