A local community in Florida is celebrating after an abandoned building in the neighborhood plagued by prostitution and drugs was transformed into an evangelical church to help those in the area.
The vacant building was once Platinum Showgirls, a strip club and bar, but has been abandoned ever since it was the target of a police raid in 2009. Members of law enforcement conducted the raid after receiving several tips that illegal prostitution was taking place, as well as the sale of illegal narcotics.
Pastor Dumont Pierre of the new Evangelical Assembly of Christ Church was ecstatic to see the fruit of his labor. He was especially grateful for all the hard work from the members of his congregation who not only raised the money, but actually participated in renovating and painting the building.
"The poles used to be right there, right there in the middle," he said, as he gave an interview with WPTV in his new church.
Pastor Pierre said the former strip club was a place where sin was able to thrive and where local residents tried to stay away from.
"It was very bad. Very, very bad. But with our Bibles in hand, our Bible was our leader," he said. His church has a membership of 250 and serves the local community, which is comprised mainly of Haitian immigrants.
The renovations for the building took about a year to complete and cost an estimated $100,000. The Evangelical Assembly of Christ Church was able to officially move from its former home in Delray Beach to its new location, and held the inaugural service on May 6.
"That's the symbolism behind this place," said associate pastor Donald Registe. "The way we were before but now we are transformed," he said.
Local media reported that the City of Boynton Beach has commended the efforts of the church for doing its part in revitalizing the local community.