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Historic Bena church being demolished to make way for new sanctuary

The 100-plus year-old sanctuary of a historic church at Bena is in the process of being demolished this week, to make way for a new structure, which is expected to be completed next March. The congregation of First Morning Star Baptist Church held a special close-out service and reception on Saturday, and Sunday services took place for the last time in its sanctuary this week.

Lifetime church member and longtime church clerk Evelyn Wright said she has mixed feelings about the change that the church is facing. “All of my family has had their funerals here,” Wright said. “This is a very beautiful church. I hate to see it torn down. You can’t duplicate it.”

According to the church’s pastor, the Rev. Larry Arrington, church members and leaders have known for almost a decade that something drastic needed to be done with the current sanctuary, which has faced declining structural integrity with wood rot and other major issues. “This was really driv...

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