BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Sandtown-Winchester church that was destroyed by a fire celebrated its return on Saturday.

New Bethlehem Baptist Church, a long-time community church, was destroyed by an electrical fire a little over two years ago.

The church was deemed unstable due to heavy smoke and water damage.

“It happened on a weekday, but we came home, everybody was told about,” Rosalyn Tripp, a church member, said. “After that, we had to go to church on Security Boulevard. But praise the Lord, we’re back home. Thank you, God. We’re back home.”

After years of rebuilding, renovating and help from M&T Bank, the church re-opened its doors.

“It’s great to see the reopening of the church,” Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford said. “It’s a stabilizing force in the community. We’re glad for them to be back.”

Lisa Weah of New Bethlehem Baptist Church cut the ribbon on the front door on Saturday.

“The neighbors are excited that we’re back so that we can be the stable, peaceful presence that the community needs,” Weah said. “Especially times like this where the crime rate is so high. We’re so glad to be back here doing our part to make Baltimore better.”

The church will celebrate its 69th anniversary on Sunday.

“It’s been quite a journey to get back home, but we’re here,” Weah said. “We’re so excited.”

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Devin Bartolotta

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