Members of the citizen committee campaigning to elevate and preserve the Historic First Baptist Church will hold fundraising activities after the first of the year.
The 1874 church building closed after the interior was destroyed by the flood of May 5, only months after damage suffered in the December 2015 flood was repaired.
The group has raised just over $20,000, approximately one-fourth of the needed $80,000 to elevate the sanctuary and adjoining service building above flood level and restore the interior for use.
To date, the Pacific Eagles, Pacific Partnership, Chamber of Commerce, Jaycees, Lions Club, Genealogy Society, six churches and numerous individuals have offered their support to the campaign.
The Chamber selected the project to share the net proceeds of its annual Pianos for a Purpose community benefit dinner, which will be held Jan. 27 at the Pacific Eagles Hall.
The church committee will stage a Trivia Night in the St. Bridget Elementary School gymnasium Feb. 10.
The annual Gordon W. Niehoff Memorial Spring Class pool tournament will donate all proceeds from the event to the church project. The tournament will be held March 3 at JP’s Bar and Grill in Eureka.
The restoration committee also is planning an “anything on wheels” poker run to be held in the spring. The date is still to be determined.
Additionally, committee members are preparing to apply for state economic development department neighborhood assistance program (NAP) tax credits.
Norbert Gildehaus and Bob Masson, who co-chair the fundraising effort, say they are not surprised that so many people have come forward to help with the campaign.
“We wanted to help the church members rebuild their sanctuary for worship, but this building is way more than a church,” Gildehaus said. “This 140-year-old building is a part of our community that helped shape race relations here. Pacific has a history of the races working together and the leaders of this church were the guiding light.
“This building needs to be here forever to remind us some things we got right,” he added.
Masson said continued fundraising is imperative to re-establish the building as a house of worship for its current congregation.
“I’m concerned that we get the church in the air before another flood damages it again,” Masson said.
Churches that have contributed to the campaign include the Pacific Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church of Gray Summit, Rose Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Mission Community Church, Rock Family Church and First Evangelical Free Church of Franklin County.