About 300 people filled the fellowship hall of Cherry Grove Baptist Church on July 17 for worship service, two days after a fire destroyed the church’s four-year-old sanctuary. Rusty Davis, pastor of Cherry Grove Baptist Church in Cerro Gordo, N.C., said people flooded the altars, several rededicated their lives to God and a young boy was saved during Sunday’s service.
Firefighters from multiple North Carolina and South Carolina departments responded to a fire that started July 15 around 4:30 p.m. at the Columbus County church. They extinguished it by 10 p.m. An investigation is ongoing, but officials believe lightning likely caused the fire. There were no injuries reported.
“We see this situation as a speed bump, not a stop sign,” Davis said in a statement to the Biblical Recorder. “God is going to see us through, and His church will thrive.”
A church member anonymously donated $50,000 toward rebuilding the sanctuary, according to a CBS North Carolina news report. The church has received other donations, and members have created a building fund. Cherry Grove had just completed renovations on the sanctuary in September 2012.
Wednesday night services and Sunday School will resume this week, said Davis. The church is also moving forward with Vacation Bible School July 24-29 and will utilize the office complex, gymnasium and fellowship hall for the week’s events.
“We are going to move some of our classes into our office complex for the time being so that we can return to some sense of normalcy in the context of small groups. … We have great people who have been very flexible, and I praise God for it,” Davis said.
On Saturday, Cherry Grove’s Facebook page posted a photo of the church sign in front of the sanctuary. The marquee flashed part of Romans 8:37, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”