OPELOUSAS, LA (WAFB) - For many, church is where you go when you can’t go anywhere else. For Florence Milburn, Greater Union Baptist Church is home. “We’re always going to church,” Milburn says. “Sunday school, choir rehearsal, we were there 3-4 nights a week and then again on Sunday morning.”
Milburn’s church along with two other historic Baptist churches in St. Landry were burned to the ground. Leaders of the churches were hit with every emotional imaginable. “All sorts of thoughts run through your mind,” Harry Richard, pastor of Greater Union Baptist Church, saud. “You don’t know who, you don’t know why.”
Kyle Sylvester, pastor of St. Mary’s Baptist Church says he was at home when he got the devastating news.
“When I got there, everything was gone,” Sylvester said. “It was almost like a bad dream.” After a time of mourning, pastors are talking about bouncing back. Everybody helping one another, loving one another and just having each other’s back,” Sylvester added.
The community is right there to help pick them up. Giles Automotive, Inc. announced a 30-day campaign Friday afternoon, Giles Gives Back to St. Landry Churches to raise money for all three historic churches.
He’s encouraging the community to join in the effort.
“We can’t undo what he’s done, but we can use this as an opportunity to rebuild and bring the community together,” said Bob Giles, Chairman of Giles Automotive. “I know that God has placed his love in their hearts and we just excited about getting back to normal,” Richard said.
Giles said he can’t think of a better institution to give back to, that gives so much to everyone else. Giles Automotive, Inc. will match the first 50,000 raised.
The money will be divided between all three churches to help them rebuild. Giles said he hopes to collect enough donations to give each church over $30,000 to help with rebuilding or whatever their needs may be.
Donations can be made to Giles Gives Back to St. Landry Churches at any Iberia Bank locations.
A GoFundMe account has also been started to help the churches rebuild. As of Tuesday, April 16, the account had already raised more than $800,000.
WAFB makes no representations or warranties of any kind about the authenticity, accuracy, or reliability of any GoFundMe campaign. Any donations you make to such campaigns are strictly at your own risk. If you have any questions related to the authenticity, accuracy, or reliability of a GoFundMe campaign, please contact GoFundMe directly or consult the GoFundMe Guarantee Policy.