Congregation Resilient After Fire Destroys Church

Congregation Resilient After Fire Destroys Church

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Saraland, Al -

With no electricity to power the keyboard, members of Celeste Road baptist church sang hymns, worshipped in the parking lot and didn't mind at all. 

"I like it. It wouldn't bother me if we met out here every Sunday if it wasn't raining," said William "Eddie" York.

Their burnt building, a backdrop, and reminder of what was and what's to come.

"With god's help, we will not only get through it, but we will come out because of God's grace," said Eddie Holmes who is Senior Pastor. He says this situation is a new test - one he's looking forward to passing.

"I've been involved in building project before but never a fire. A lot of people been dreaming, and as they come by for different things, they talk about what you would like to see them do, but we have no plan right now. We are just gonna have to do a lot of praying and seeking God's will for the future," said Pastor Holmes.

The building was constructed 30 years ago.

Fran Willis has been a member for 15 years.

"Had a lot of good memories here. A lot of good fellowship. A lot of good christian people and we all are very dedicated, so it won't be long before we us up and going again. The lord gave us a beautiful day. Like he said, the building may be gone, but the church is alive and well," she said.

An unexpected check for one thousand dollars was presented. Visitors like Dwight Turner just wanted to show their support.

"Just to join in the fellowship, offer support, prayers. Got a congregation that needs all of that," said Turner.

The pastor says he's not surprised to see the community lend a hand and looks forward to a new beginning.

"Just a lot of emotions going through. Excitement about a new start is starting to come out with some of the people in the church. We get a second chance to do something different," said Pastor Holmes.

The pastor hopes to have a trailer on hand for next Sunday's service. He says local, state and insurance investigators have already assessed the damage and expects rebuilding to take about a year. Fire officials believe the fire started in the attic and the cause of is undetermined.

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