Fire destroyed the fellowship hall and educational building at a Baptist church in Waynesville this morning (Tuesday, Aug. 5).
Jack Holland, pastor at Barberville Baptist Church, said firefighters were able to keep the fire out of the sanctuary, which was separated from the other two buildings by a breezeway.
“We’re fine,” he said. “We don’t worship buildings; we worship the Lord.”
Holland’s wife, Beverly, said the couple got a call about 5:45 a.m. saying that someone had seen smoke coming out of one of the church windows. They immediately went to the church, which is across the street.
“It didn’t take long for it to be totally engulfed,” she said.
The fire was devastating but church members are dealing with the loss, the Hollands said.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Beverly Holland said.
Jack Holland said he lost 39 years of records from his ministry, including all his books and sermon transcripts. Also destroyed was a book in which Holland had recorded all the baptisms and weddings he had performed.
“That’s the only thing I regret losing,” he said.
While the church was burning, Holland said he leaned up and asked the Lord what the church could learn from the fire.
“That’s the way we’re approaching it,” he said.
Holland said the church was insured, but no estimates of the loss have been made. Church officials are scheduled to meet with insurance representatives on Thursday.
The church’s homecoming is scheduled for Sunday. The association is loaning them a large tent.
Donnie Henson, moderator of the Haywood Baptist Association and pastor of Rocky Face Baptist Church in Canton, went to the scene of the fire when he heard about it. Every fire department in the county helped fight the fire, he said.
“It was tremendous how they worked together,” he said.
Henson said he noticed the church sign said “Everything we own is on loan from God.”
Holland said the church members have a good spirit. One lady in the church told him, “The church is not gone. We’re still here.”
“I thought that was a good way to put it,” he said.