Hayden Baptist Church is about to enter a new chapter in its long-standing history.

On Sunday, the Hayden Baptist congregation will celebrate the ground breaking of its new church. Just a little more than a year ago, the church that was located on Hayden Road in Aiken burned down after it was struck by lightning.

The new church will be located in Willow Run Industrial Park on Prosperity Lane, according to Pastor Robert Heflin Jr. The contractor is still in the process of getting the plan approved by the City of Aiken, Heflin added.

When the church was lost to the fire, the congregation was embraced by the community, Heflin said. Efforts to raise funds for a new church were undertaken by different groups or individuals both outside and within the congregation. Bibles and hymn books were also collected and donated to the congregation.

Hayden Baptist Church has held its services at First Presbyterian Church and the Aiken Electric Cooperative building. Heflin said that he greatly appreciates them both opening their doors and offering his congregation a place to worship.

“It's been a long battle, and it's been a long journey, but, even in that journey, God showed us his goodness,” Heflin said. “Did we have some struggle? Of course. But by the grace of God, we came out OK.”

Heflin has consistently reminded his congregation of the positive aspects of the situation, including the fact that nobody was hurt in the fire and that the community has shown so much generosity since the tragic loss of their church.

Heflin said that his congregation's faith and trust in God has only become stronger.

He said the ground breaking will be a celebration of God, and he hopes that they will be in their new church some time next year.

“God has tremendously blessed us,”Heflin said. “Every Sunday morning, we praise him.”

Amy Banton is the County reporter for the Aiken Standard and has been with the publication since May 2010.