Workmen install new AC units at First Baptist Church. Photo by Michelle Chance

One of Maricopa’s oldest places of worship received an upgrade Thursday.

First Baptist Church replaced three ageing air conditioning units with help from a local business. The historic church was built in 1954 and has overcome many obstacles over the years.

First Baptist survived a fire in 2016. It also would have been demolished if early designs for the State Route 347 overpass had been approved.

The church was remodeled after the smoke and flames, and a new plan was drawn up for the bridge to bypass the church.

The most recent impediment facing the church now is the upcoming heat. First Baptist’s 17-year-old AC units that cool the congregation below were deteriorating.

“It was at a point where something needed to be done,” said Bruce McLaughlin

A crane and a crew of six uninstalled and replaced the old units March 1 at around half the cost of a typical installation.

Pastor Kevin Treacy met McLaughlin, owner of McLaughlin Air Conditioning and Heating Service, when he needed service to his personal AC unit at his home over the holidays.

That’s when McLaughlin said he volunteered to service the church’s units.

McLaughlin is not a member of the First Baptist congregation but said he wants to be “all about the community.”

The local business owner said he and his company are not seeking recognition for the help and said although they cannot assist everybody in need, “We do give a discount to some of those organizations that are very impactful,” McLaughlin said, adding, “We like to help out.”

Pastor Kevin Treacy said the high-efficient, electric units will save the church money and keep the congregation comfortable.

“We obviously have things that go on here due to the age of the building, but by God’s grace he continues to provide for us,” Treacy said.

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