By Pauline Masson

Pacific Missourian Editor

The Historic First Baptist Church Restoration Committee (HFBCRC) hosted a trivia night to benefit the church restoration project — raising more than $5,000.

The project has reached into every segment of the community, said Norbert Gildehaus, who co-chairs the HFBCRC with Bob Masson.

The trivia night benefit was held this past Saturday, Feb. 16, in the St. Bridget Elementary School gym.

Cody Kelley and Brad Reed chaired the event.

More than 100 trivia buffs filled tables as local auctioneer Brian Knight presented trivia questions.

Funds raised will enable the committee to continue restoration of the church and education building at 421 S. First St.

The HFBCRC has raised approximately $70,000 to date and has elevated the church and education building above the flood level. Work is now beginning on interior restoration. (See separate story.)

Local businesses sponsored tables to aid the trivia night benefit and project supporters donated items for the silent and live auctions.

Alderman Carol Johnson raffled off her traditional millionaire scratch-off board.

“It looks like it was a great success,” Gildehaus said. “It also was a lot of fun.”

The HFBCRC has attracted help from throughout the community to restore the two buildings, which make up the home church of a 145-year congregation, the oldest African-American church in the area.

The white frame structures have flooded five times in memory — in 2015, 2008, 1993, 1985, and 1982. The sanctuary building also flooded in the great flood of 1915.

Three feet of water filled the buildings in December 2015, and again in 2016, destroying carpet, drywall, heating and cooling, and most of the furniture and fixtures in the church and service building.

“Something had to be done if it was going to survive as a place of worship,” Gildehaus said. “The trivia night is just one of the ways the community has added its support to saving the old church.”