Divine transformation: Ex-Alaska strip club becomes church

Alaska-Pole to Pulpit

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A popular strip club that once beckoned customers off a busy highway leading into Anchorage is now a church offering salvation — instead of temptation — thanks to a daughter of a former exotic dancer.

Linda Dunegan believes divine intervention played a hand in transforming the building that housed Fantasies on 5th into the start-up Open Door Baptist Church, turning the show floor into a sanctuary and trading the dancer’s pole with a pulpit.

"This church came about because I prayed for five years,” said Dunegan, who tried to buy the building before but walked away — for good, she thought — when she and the owner couldn’t come to terms. Then the owner gave a real estate agent a week to sell it and suggested the agent call Dunegan. This time, the deal went through.

“God has been very good to me," Dunegan said, “to give me a family, a wonderful husband, food on the table, a place to live.”