Five years after this, a celebration

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the devastating fire that ripped through the 150-year-old First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain on Jan. 18, 2005, the congregation will be returning to the newly renovated first floor, including a community hall, kitchen, classrooms and office space, on Sun., Jan. 17. The community is being invited to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the first phase of building restoration at 3 p.m. followed by an open church reception. [See Happenings for event details.] Through community events, fund-raisers and a capital campaign, over $1.3 million was raised toward the first phase of rebuilding, with $300,000 left to go. A second phase of construction on the second-floor sanctuary is in early planning stages. A double-wide trailer the church and various community organizations have used during restoration is set to be removed from its prominent spot at the corner of Myrtle and Centre streets the week before the ceremony. Pastor Ashlee Wiest-Laird said in a written statement, “We are overjoyed to move into our newly restored space, and look forward to sharing it with the local community.”

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