Historic church breaks ground on new sanctuary

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2008


Editor and Publisher

LAPLACE – Providence Baptist Church I in LaPlace is apparently planning on celebrating its 150th birthday in style.

The local church, which Pastor Willie Smith says is “one of the oldest churches in the parish,” recently broke ground on a new sanctuary that will clearly have them continuing their presence in St. John Parish for years to come.

The church is currently 142 years old.

Providence currently operates from their building located on Pine Street, just off River Road, and had slowly purchased a total of three acres, starting all the way back in the early 90s.

“We had some land donated, and we purchased a little at a time to get the land we currently have,” Smith said.

Just two weeks ago, the church held a groundbreaking on the property for a new sanctuary that will be over 4,500 square feet, used exclusively for church services, while the old building that the land connects to, will be close enough to use as a fellowship hall and for other things.

Smith said the church especially wants to utilize the space they will now have to provide help during emergency situations for needy individuals or families.

“We’re really excited for what God has blessed us with,” Smith said. “This will give us an opportunity to use our old buildings to help others in times of emergencies, and to provide shelter for people when they need it.”

Smith, although 67-years-old, took over as pastor in 1999 and is still going strong as he sees his 70th birthday in the coming years.

“I still plan to do this as long as the Lord has me,” he said, noting that he worked professionally as a longshoreman during his earlier years.

“This new building helps us prepare for the future, which it is incumbent on us to do so we can look out for our children and our families,” he noted.

Smith said they hoped to have the new sanctuary finished by the end of the year.