Richmond church burns
Jeremy M. Lazarus | 1/18/2024, 6 p.m.
A devastating fire Jan. 9 appears to have dashed the hopes of the congregation of Seventh Street Memorial Baptist Church of returning to their long vacant “home location” in the Highland Park neighborhood in North Side.
City firefighters responded around 7 a.m. to the blaze in the sanctuary at 3014 Meadowbridge Road. The fire gutted the building before it could be extinguished.
The building was located near the Six Points intersection and occupied most of the block between Newbury and Highland View avenues.
The congregation, which has been in temporary locations for the past decade, had just paid to install a new roof on the building.
The building was Seventh Street’s most valuable asset. Though not subject to tax, the city had assessed the land and building as worth $650,000.
On Sunday, the pastor, Dr. Micah Jackson, led a community program in the parking lot of the building.
“We’re trusting for good to come out of this, we’re looking for the miracle that’s born out of this misery, we’re looking for the triumph to come out of this tragedy,” Dr. Jackson prayed.
Launched in the 1930s on 7th Street in Navy Hill, the church was displaced as the interstate and government buildings took over the Downtown neighborhood and ended up buying the Highland Park building in 1977 as relocation space.
However, after taking over leadership 18 years ago, Dr. Jackson and his wife, the Rev. C.C. Jackson, became concerned about the building’s deterioration and ended up relocating the congregation in 2013 while seeking to raise the money to renovate.
The church for a time used leased office space in Glen Allen, but now holds Sunday worship at First Baptist Church-Washington Park.