Members of Nobles Chapel Baptist Church in Sims spent the week trying to salvage some water-damaged pieces from its sanctuary and educational building.
Lightning struck the church June 13 causing the two buildings to catch on fire. The strike hit the fuse box in the portion of the building that connected the two facilities.
“Thankfully no one was in the building,” said Rodney Walls, who has been the church’s pastor for seven years. “We were very fortunate.”
In a phone interview with the Biblical Recorder, Walls was looking out from the parsonage at the destruction.
“I’m looking at it as we speak,” he said. “It’s like a war zone.”
The church does not have Sunday evening services so no one was in the building when the lightning strike occurred.
Firefighters were able to keep the fire from reaching the fellowship hall. Pulpit, pews, and communion table all sustained smoke and water damage.
The church Bible, as well as pictures of previous pastors, was rescued.
A committee met June 16-17 in the evenings to begin plans for rebuilding.
“It’s been kind of overwhelming actually,” said Walls, who was driving back from vacation when he got a call about the fire. “None of us were really prepared.”
The people of Nobles Chapel have been “stepping up” helping clean and try to salvage what they can.
The Walls live in the parsonage across from the church. Walls said he mainly worked from the parsonage so he did not lose much in the church study. But a most precious piece of art is lost forever. His daughter drew a picture of Jesus on a cross when they arrived at the church seven years ago. It has held a special place in his church office as well as his heart all these years.
“It’s stuff,” he said. “No lives were lost; we’re very blessed.”
The parsonage yard became the gathering place for members and concerned citizens as firefighters battled the blaze Sunday night. The church was established in 1901 and currently averages around 80 in worship on Sunday mornings.
Members will meet in the fellowship hall and cancel Sunday School for now.
“The people are really wanting to get the rubble off the campus,” he said. That could begin to happen as early as next week.
No alternative plans for Vacation Bible School have been discussed yet, but that will have to be addressed because the church usually hosts VBS in August.
The church just updated its insurance last year and is working with representatives to figure out the next step.