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Church Fire Tests Faith of Congregation

Posted December 5, 2006

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— With three weeks until Christmas, the faith of a Greene County congregation is being put to the test.

Fire gutted Davis Grove Baptist Church in Snow Hill early Sunday, destroying a sanctuary built in 1902 and charring pews, hymnals and other items inside. The fellowship hall, built a few years ago, sustained heavy smoke damage.

"Everything in here is totaled. It's sort of like a death in the family," church deacon Donald May said.

On Saturday, church members decorated the sanctuary for Christmas.

"It was just beautiful. I've never seen it as beautiful as it was in here," May said. "It's hard to describe the feelings you have. It's a loss."

Investigators ruled the fire an accident. A deacon turned on baptismal pool heating unit in preparation for a ceremony, but the pool had a leak, and after the water drained out, the heating unit sparked the fire, authorities said.

"It's a total shock to me, but we're going to pull through," May said. "The church didn't burn, just the building did. So, we're going to rebuild, we're going to be fine."

The 84-member congregation is waiting to hear if any of the building can be saved, and they plan to share space with a neighboring church for their services for the near future.

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