A fire that destroyed Englewood’s historic Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on Good Friday somehow left intact a wall with a mural depicting Jesus’ ascension.
The mural, on an inside wall of the church, appears to have been untouched by the flames despite several days of burning, according to the Chicago Fire Department.
“It’s just one of those things,” Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt said Tuesday.
The colorful image shows Jesus ascending to the heavens, flanked by two angels as his disciples look on.
“While he blessed them he was parted from them and carried up into heaven” from Luke 24:51 is written above the scene.
It wasn’t long after the Rev. Gerald Dew presided over a Good Friday service Friday afternoon that fire tore through the historic structure at 6248 S. Stewart Ave., sparked by a propane torch that was being used to work on the church’s roof.
The fire appeared to begin in the upper rear area of the church and caused the roof to collapse.
The congregation gathered Sunday at a nearby funeral home for an Easter service.
Afterward, Dew said the service marked “a new beginning” for the church and even brought the church some new members, and he asked for donations to address the toll of the fire.
“I’ve seen resurrection in my own lifetime,” he said in an interview then. “And this church is gonna be bigger and stronger than ever.”