Termite-infested Church reopens on Easter

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- In December, Saint Mark's Episcopal Church had to hold Christmas services outside of its sanctuary for the first time in more than 50 years. This Easter, however, congregants at the church were back in their sanctuary celebrating the rebirth of their savior and their temple.

If a picture could tell a story about this Easter and this church, then it would probably take you back to last summer when its sanctuary wasn't so picturesque.

"I was angry," said congregant Sandra Cone. "I felt like we had been let down by people that we relied upon."

STORY: Termites force Christmas services out of Little Rock church (http://on.kthv.com/1bcIKd7)

"It was a shock to people," continued church director Danny Schieffler. "It made me realize how easy, or how much we need holy places to help us connect with God."

Termites were found gnawing away at what had once been a holy place, turning it into a vacant structure that was fixed to collapse.

"A lot of people were angry," continued Cone. "There were a lot of people who left and didn't come back until we got back into the park church proper because they didn't feel comfortable."

For the first time in more than 50 years Christmas services had to be moved to the much more cramped, much less holy parish hall a few buildings down. Some church members left because they didn't feel comfortable. The once-grand pipe organ was degraded to a less audible portable one, but, as with any negative, there was a positive.

"It was tight. Weren't as many empty seats or chairs, but you know that ended up being a good thing because we got to see people we had never seen before," continued Schieffler. "The person who used to sit over there was now sitting here, next to a person they never saw."

Believe it or not church attendance actually grew during the infestation, and church morale went up as people began to reach out and help.

"That was what our silver-lining was-- having our church grow even during a time of hardship," said congregant Susan Glatter. "Everyone stepped up and became this group that was amazing."

So, if a picture could tell a story about this Easter and this church, it would actually be one of a church whose faith couldn't get eaten away like its foundation. When rebuilding, the church reinforced its wooden structure with steel plating to make sure nothing similar happened again. It held two Easter services this morning--one this morning at 8 a.m. and at 10:30 a.m.


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