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BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. -- A group of Boynton Beach churchgoers is finding God in a former strip club.
A building that recently served as an adult club with nude dancing is now a place of worship.
The transformation is just about complete. Pastor Dumont Pierre of the new Evangelical Assembly of Christ Church on North Federal Highway stood in the exact spot where female dancers shed their clothing for paying customers.
"The poles used to be right there, right there in the middle," he said, pointing to the center of his new church.
Pastor Pierre said the former strip club was a place where sin ran rampant for far too long.
"It was very bad. Very, very bad. But with our Bibles in hand, our Bible was our leader," he said. His church has a membership of about 250 people, many who speak Creole.
Warfield Alexandre, 24, knows the history of the building very well. When he was just 16, he said he would sneak through the back door of the Platinum Showgirls strip club.
"Most of the strippers would be on the wall over here," he said, pointing to the side of what is now a church.
The Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency has said the club was, for years, a haven for drugs, prostitution and other criminal activity.
"There would be like a little bar on this side and then on this side there would be DVDs of pornography, CDs and everything," said Alexandre, recalling what the inside of the Platinum Showgirls club looked like.
The young man is now an active member of the church. He, like the building, have been transformed, he said.
"This building speaks a lot, Alexandre said. "It seems like I was meant to be here."
The club was raided by SWAT teams and shut down in October of 2009. It remained empty - some said it was an eyesore - until now.
After a year of hard work, and an estimated $100,000 in renovations, the Evangelical Assembly of Christ Church has officially moved from its former home in Delray Beach to what was, to some, a very unholy place.
"That's the symbolism behind this place," said associate pastor Donald Registe. "The way we were before but now we are transformed," he said.
The city of Boynton Beach has commended the efforts of the church for taking a vacant and rundown building and bringing it back to life.
The first official service at the church's new location is set for Sunday, May 6 at 8 a.m.
This story was updated to clarify that the first service will be held on Sunday May 6th, not the 8th.
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