Historic Waxahachie church building being restored thanks to Rotary, volunteers
Waxahachie Rotary Club, volunteers help renovate historic building, inside and out
After months of work, Messiah Church of the Living God Independent has a new look, with help from local volunteers in Waxahachie.
The project for the historic building began on Nov. 7, led by Rotary Club members Eric Epperley, Jamal Rasheed and Von Aday.
Now, looking at the exterior, the church built in 1920 looks completely different than before the renovations took place.
“I drove by, and I didn't like how the church looked," shared Dr. Jamal Rasheed, founder of the Ellis County African Hall of Fame Museum and Library. "I asked somebody to get in touch with the pastor, and then the pastor got in touch with me, and I came and I talked to his congregation about what could possibly be done to restore and bring it back to its historic preservation.
"From that point, we began to come down here on the weekends to do the work that you saw on the pictures. We also redid the ceiling, and put new lights in there, and now they’re working on the floor. But they’re working on the floor on their own now. We restored the outside. We restored the ceiling. We painted all the walls,” he added.
The quote for material and labor is between $5,000 and $6,500, according to Billie Wallace, Rotary Club president. Materials were donated from the Rotary Club, the Ellis County African Hall of Fame Museum and Library and from the Bethesda #168 Brothers.
“This was a fun project for Rotary. Rotarians and volunteers worked very hard together as white, Hispanic, and Black race came together, putting service above self. There were friendships made during this project that will last for years to come,” shared Wallace. “We had Rotarians and other volunteers help with the project. There were probably a total of 25 Rotarians and volunteers that helped with the renovation. The exterior was scraped, rotten boards replaced, trees and shrubs cut and removed, the exterior caulked and power washed, and the exterior repainted. The interior was painted after sheetrock was removed and then replaced.”
On Saturday, Feb. 6, the church members and volunteers gathered around to photograph the hard work put into the project. As of Jan. 30, the Rotary and additional volunteers finished their commitment they made for the project.
“It just makes my heart flutter, so happy. Because the church (has) been there so long, everybody done died out,” said Pastor E.J. Bacy. “And I’m not as young as I used to be to put in all this work. So we thank God for the help that they’ve come down and done for us. Only thing we need now is really, finishing putting this floor together and getting the floor done.”
Pastor Bacy stated that the church seeks donations to complete the inside work.
The church is located at 720 MLK Blvd., and holds service at 11:30 a.m. every Sunday.