By Chinta StrausbergÂ
Rev. Donald Smith, pastor of the Holy Jerusalem Missionary Baptist, 1458 W. 115th Street, Tuesday called on the faith community to pray for him as he rebuilds his church he says was destroyed by angry ex-members who after 17-years were evicted by the courts.
â€œThey worshipped in this building for 17-years and never paid rent,â€ said Smith explaining his father, the late Rev. Frank Smith, owned the building. His father used diplomatic tactics to try and get them out of his building; however, Smith said his pleas fell on deaf ears.
Since his fatherâ€™s death in 2010, Pastor Smith resumed the wrangling with these members and finally took them to court and won.
â€œThey were angry ex-members who were trying to stop me and my members from worshipping,â€ said Smith. â€œThey knew after the court ruled they had to get out that they would have to move, and they caused more than $100,000 worth of damage before they left.
â€œThey destroyed the toilet. Water is running everywhere. They knocked down the walls and the ceiling. They totally trashed the place,â€ said Smith. â€œWe have yet to find the back door.
â€œIt was hatred and evil that did this. Â They worshipped in the building for 17-years and never once paid any rent so they should be in pretty good shape. They were squatters. Why would they destroy the building because they had to leave because of a court orderâ€?
Referring to the minister, whose name he is withholding for now, who was legally evicted from the church, Smith said, â€œHe was trying to extract money from us, but after we said no, that is when they trashed the building.
â€œI saw them with a U-Haul truck. I thought they were moving outâ€¦gone, but that evening when I came back to inspect the church, I saw the destruction they had made,â€ said Smith. â€œWe made out a police report and it is under investigation. We will see where we will go after that.â€
Pastor Smith is asking for your prayers and for donations as he takes on this huge task of cleaning up and rebuilding his fatherâ€™s church he now heads.
You may send contributions to:
Pastor Donald Smith
Holy Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church
PO. BOX 438037
Chicago, Il 60643
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.