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Local church damaged by flood breaks ground on new campus

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DENHAM SPRINGS - Almost two years after the 2016 flood, parishoners at a local church held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new campus.

The August 2016 flood damaged the entirety of St. Francis Episcopal Church, but Sunday morning's ceremony was nothing short of a blessing.

"We decided to take that tragedy and turn it into a blessing, or as a preacher says: miracle," longtime member Jim Bruce said.

Father Dan Krutz had been the pastor at St. Francis for years, but left the campus shortly before the summer of 2016.

"After the flood, I came back and I saw the damage that was done, and it was just devastating," he recalled. "I didn't see how we would come out of it, or recover. But through a lot of different things going right for us, it was like the spirit was moving."

Janie Rainey's family donated land for the church. To her, the flood damage was personal.

"The pews were on the patio. Things were just piled up. It was heartbreaking," Rainey told WBRZ.

The new church took over $900,000 to build, and St. Francis had to borrow a third of that cost. Members of the congregation had been planning to build a new church for years. So when the flood hit, they were forced into action.

"Almost ever week for those thirty-eight years we talked about building a new church, and now that dream is coming to pass," Bruce said.

Now that ground has officially broken, members of St. Francis plan to worship in their new church by October. As for the old church? It's been turned into an activity hall.

St. Francis Episcopal Church is actively fundraising to pay the $300,000 left on rebuilding the new church. For more information, click here.

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