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Congregation builds a new church

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LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- It has been more than two years since the historic Blackwell AME Zion Church in Leland burned to rubble and ashes. It was one of three suspicious fires in the area the week of September 19, 2010. This weekend, the congregation celebrated its plans to rebuild.

Rev. Felecia Jones said she always knew God had a plan and that the church would once rise again. She knew the congregation would stay together even without four walls.

"I feel wonderful. It is God at work," says Jones. "The church is inside of us, it is not the building."

Saturday's celebration started with an afternoon service at Johnson Chapel AME Zion Church in Leland. Afterwards, the congregation held a groundbreaking ceremony at 10015 Blackwell Road, where the church burned down 2 years ago.

Jones says they are building the church in that same spot on Blackwell Road in Leland. She said the new structure will be bigger and better. It will even have a conference room and a kitchen.

Workers have already constructed part of the church's foundation. The congregation expects the project to take about 6 months. Jones said it will cost an estimated $250,000 to build...money the church raised through insurance and generous donations.

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