PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Free Spirit Community Church has been in the process of rebuilding after Hurricane Michael destroyed their long-time sanctuary. Now after many obstacles along the way, a new building is in the works.
Free Spirit has been a sanctuary for the Bay County community since 1986 until Hurricane Michael put all of that on hold.
After the storm ripped through the church, members and church leaders have been using the sanctuary at High Praise Worship Center or online services due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Most of 2020 was getting the plans together, getting the permits together, and doing that process. But now we’re in the phase of actually starting construction,” said Senior Pastor, Darrell Kelly.
The concrete is set to be poured onto the foundation early Monday morning.
“It’s going to be amazing. Already there’s anticipation from the members, a lot of high expectations. They are looking forward to coming back home to the grounds here, so it’s going to be a really good time. We’re looking forward to doing more community activities, and bringing some togetherness back to this area.” said Pastor Kelly.
Throughout the process of insurance, and funding issues, Pastor Kelly said it eventually became too expensive to rebuild at the original spot, and more affordable to start brand new.
“Our motto and our mission theme for the past two years has been ‘We Build Together’ and that’s what we continue to do. We’re not only building a facility, but we’re also building lives, we’re building each other, building the community, building relationships and that’s what it’s all about,” said Pastor Kelly.
The plan is by late Spring or early Summer to be able to move furniture into the new facility.
In the meantime, the church is welcoming donations to help with their rebuilding efforts.