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Chicago minister gets another "Chance" as his church is rebuilt after fire

Second "Chance" for ministry as church gutted by fire is rebuilt
Second "Chance" for ministry as church gutted by fire is rebuilt 02:23

CHICAGO (CBS) — CBS 2 has an exclusive look inside a newly rebuilt Chicago church.

Chance Ministries in Chicago's Austin neighborhood was destroyed by a fire over a year ago.

The pastor about how his special skills helped put it back together.

"It's a breath of fresh air."

Pastor William Martin of Chance Ministries is talking about his rebuilt church.

"I tell you one thing: I sleep better at night," Martin said.

Last year, just one day before Easter, Chicago's Austin neighborhood lost a church. Fire gutted through Chance Ministries on  Cicero.

CBS 2 spoke with Pastor Martin as construction crews knocked part of it down.

"Don't really know what to think. Don't really know what to feel," Martin said. 

Seven months later, CBS 2 caught up with Pastor Martin, who was rebuilding his church.

"We up here about to get ready to check out the duct system."

Pastor Martin wears two hats. He preaches and is a licensed contractor for the City of Chicago.

"I'm familiar with this. It's just the fact of having the tolerance and the patience to want to deal with it," Martin said back in 2023.

It seems like he had patience and tolerance because six months later, the church was over.

"I knew it was going to take a lot of faith. I knew that it was going to take a lot of sacrifices, but I did know. I knew we were going to get to this point. Amen. I didn't imagine it would ever look as nice as it looks," Martin said. 

Even though Pastor Martin has been a licensed contractor for 30 years, he said he couldn't have done this alone.

"Man, no, we had help. We had other licensed contractors come in here. General contractors," Martin said.

But the biggest help, he said, was from the big man above.

"That's why I came up with the slogan, 'Just look at what the Lord has done.' I didn't want to put on there, look at what I have done. Because look at what God has done," Martin said.

Pastor Martin said although he's done, he still has work to do. He's adding an extra air conditioning unit because of the summer season. 

The ribbon cutting ceremony is Sunday at 2 p.m., where they'll also celebrate their 19th church anniversary. 

Pastor Martin said he expects a big turnout. Not only is he expecting the congregation to show up, but also people from the community.

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