LEBANON, Tenn. - A long-established Lebanon congregation lost its place of worship after a late-night fire.
The fire was reported just before 11 p.m. Saturday night at the Church of God, at the corner of C.L. Manier and McGregor Streets. Firefighters said when they arrived there was already heavy smoke and fire coming from the back of the building.
It took them two hours to get the fire under control. Battling this fire was a challenge because the building contained many rooms.
One of the parishioners lives nearby, and he and his family rushed there to see what they could do to help, but the fire consumed the building very quickly.
"It makes you feel bad when you see something like this happen. You know what I'm saying, to see your church burn down like that. You saw the church before it burned down, but you never thought your church would be like that," said church parishioner Harold Shorter.
Fortunately, no one was injured. The building was a complete loss, although firefighters tell parishioners that the pews and pulpit were still standing. Even a Bible was discovered intact as fire investigators assessed the damage.
The first church service was supposed to start at 8 a.m. Sunday. The parishioner told NewsChannel 5 the congregation still gathered to figure out what to do next.
This congregation has been worshiping together since the early 1900s. It is very likely they will rebuild.
"I believe that God is going to take care of us," said Church of God Deacon Ronnie Kelley.
Church leaders said they will hold service next Sunday. Several neighboring churches are said to have offered to share their buildings.