Historic church hopes for revival after repeated vandalism


“People started to come in and steal things from the building, around the building and inside the building,” said Pastor Williams.

ST. LOUIS – A local pastor prays for change after his church, which is a city landmark, was cleaned up by criminals.

Since 1916, the building that now houses the Church of God in Christ New Jerusalem Cathedral has stood proudly above the intersection of East Grand and Emily.

“It means a lot to the community,” said Pastor Terry Williams.

The building is a landmark of the city, but you might not know it because it is badly damaged.

“People started to come in and steal things from the building, around the building and inside the building,” Williams said.

The thieves stole all of the building’s electrical wiring to the utility pole as well as all copper components and doorknobs, smashing windows and taking the toilets along the way.

“It hurts because it was vandalized,” Williams said.

Things inside the shrine have gotten so bad that it is no longer safe for Sunday service, so they moved the pulpit outside to the parking lot.

“We just trust God to come and help us, show us and guide us where to go and put us in the right place with the right people who can help us,” said Williams.

With help from other church groups, Pastor Williams believes the church can be restored to its former glory despite the estimated price tag of $ 1.5 million.

“The Bible says the Lord will provide for all of my needs,” said Williams. “Not according to my riches, but according to his riches.”

Although the task might seem monumental, they start out small and try to tackle a project by Saturday.

“I wish it could all be done overnight,” said Williams.

As the cathedral cleanup continues, Pastor Williams hopes to set an example for the rest of the College Hill neighborhood.

“We’re not just a vacant building,” Williams said. “We are here and we will distribute food. We will pray for those who want to pray. We will take names and numbers to let them know that we are there. We are coming back!”

If you would like to donate to the Church of God in Christ New Jerusalem Cathedral, you can do so on CashApp via $ emwicogicstl or $ elbethelcogicstl.

If you would like to volunteer your time for the cleanup, you can contact Bishop Nelson Watts Jr. at (314) 532-2686.

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