The campaign to elevate the Historic First Baptist Church of Pacific above the flood plain and restore the structure for worship service has moved a step closer to reality, according to Norbert Gildehaus, committee co-chair.

Speaking at the Oct. 9 committee meeting held at Reed Insurance office, Gildehaus said the campaign is nearing a minimum project goal.

“I have a personal goal to get the building in the air by Christmas,” he said. “We need to get it up before the chances of flooding again.”

The historic building, constructed in 1874, has flooded numerous times, most recently in December 2015 and May 2017, totally destroying the interior of the sanctuary and education center.

Gildehaus and co-chair Bob Masson fielded a committee of community-minded volunteers to help raise funds to save the historic building as a place of worship.

The committee has raised $14,774 to date and received material pledges valued at $12,000.

Two more fundraisers are planned. On Friday, Nov. 3, a celebrity bartender benefit will be held at Brown Jerry’s, with Brad Reed, Gildehaus, former Mayor Herb Adams and Chrysler dealer Dave Sinclair serving as celebrity bartenders.

Tips from the evening will benefit the church elevation project.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, the committee will host a barbecue on the Reed Insurance agency parking lot at First and St. Louis streets.

Once the building is elevated, local contractors have pledged to provide labor to restore the interior.

“We still need donations to get the church back to where it can serve as a house of worship,” Gildehaus said. “But we’re grateful for the support so far.”

The damaged interior of the building has been completely gutted and cleaned in preparation for restoration.

Donations for the project can be made on gofundme or at Bank Star, 1999 W. Osage, Pacific. Checks should be made payable to Historic First Baptist Church Restoration.