Church Unites After Accident

Standing inside the gymnasium of the Union Missionary Baptist Church it would be tough to know that devastation had happened just down the hall earlier in the week. The congregation sang and danced as a live band accompanied the service.

Twenty-four-year-old Deante Beard crashed his car into the church's brick wall on southbound Martin Luther King Blvd. Thursday morning. He later died in the hospital.

The feeling's very somber this morning," said Tony Baltimore, a deacon at the church. "But no doubt we're going to have a very worshipful time today in praising what we call our lord Jesus Christ despite a tragedy that has happened not just to a building but to a family who is now grieving the loss of a loved one."

The congregation offered prayers and support to the Beard family. Deante's brother sat in the service too.

"Here at Union, we sing, we pray, we have a good time, but when it comes to something like that we all come together," said Eloise Moore, who has been attending church at Union Missionary Baptist for 40 years. "Brick and mortar we can rebuild, but his life is gone."

Smaller services and classes have been temporarily relocated from the chapel, where the car crashed. The church says it is still receiving estimates on how much the repair will cost.

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