154-year-old Chesapeake church rallies to rebuild after large monetary gift

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Posted at 2:46 PM, Sep 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-27 09:36:10-04

A local congregation is once again showing how resilient they are.

Back in August the Gabriel Chapel A.M.E Zion Church, a 154-year-old church in Chesapeake, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

While the structure may have crumbled, spirits have not. Community members have rallied behind the church as they work to raise money in order to rebuild.

On Saturday some of the congregation's prayers were answered. The Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors met with Pastor Hutchinson in the parking lot for a quick prayer.

Then led by Bishop Kevin White, the Chesapeake Coalition of Black Pastors gifted Pastor Hutchinson and the church $27,550.00. They raised the donations over a two week period.

"I'm really excited that they have thought enough of us that they would want to come and pray with us and give us any kind of donation," Hutchinson said.

She went on to say that she's overwhelmed by the support of friends and strangers.

"The overwhelming support of people far and near just to say they are praying. I mean I have gotten donations from people across the country. I even received a donation from, and that was really moving I think the parents sent some money and then a child, one of their children sent in a donation and it was $5 from their allowance and that was extremely moving to me,” Pastor Sandi Hutchinson said.

Bishop Kevin R. White said, "whenever there is a tragedy your friends should find you and be a blessing."

Bricks will also be available for purchase because many people want to have a piece of the church's history with them.

"As some of the older people have said 'pastor we are with you! We're looking forward to the new church!' and that actually energized me because I knew they were kind of out of the grieving mode and into seeing what God was going to do next,” she said.

Demolition is expected to begin by the end of next week.