Local News

After Fire, Church Leaders Proclaim: 'We Will Rebuild'

Posted August 12, 2007

— Fire destroyed their sanctuary, but members of Union Chapel United Methodist Church still gathered for worship Sunday.

Singing “Amazing Grace,” about 90 worshipers held service in the fellowship hall - the only area untouched by Friday’s fire. More than 70 firefighters from all over Vance and Franklin counties worked for hours to put out the fire.

“We will rebuild, and we will be stronger than before. I promise,” said Lay Leader Tony Sanford.

Lightning might be to blame for the blaze that reduced part of the 178-year-old church to rubble. Investigators have not released an official cause.

“We need to be asking, ‘Lord, how do you want us to respond to this, to bring glory to yourself?’” said Pastor Robert Hammond.

The faithful respond by coming to worship. While Bibles, hymn books and 178 years of history went up in smoke, one of the few items untouched by the fire was a picture of Jesus that hung behind the pulpit.

“Untouched, unscarred, unsmoked - it's just in perfect condition,” Sanford said.

The sanctuary was not as lucky. Among many other items, the church lost its stained glass windows, which were brought in from Europe and dated back to the early 1800s.

“People ride by it every day. There’s the beautiful church with the beautiful stained glass windows. And now, it’s gone,” Sanford said.

The loss was especially hard for Shirley Frazier, who has been a member of the church for 71 years.

“I was born here. I was baptized here. My children were born here. I got married here,” she said.

Church leaders say building a new sanctuary will take one to two years and will cost about $1 million. Insurance will probably only cover about $400,000, they said, because they couldn't afford a policy that covered the church's worth.

Church leaders said they plan to hold fund-raisers to get the rest of the money needed. They also plan to hold a barbecue to thank all the firefighters for saving their fellowship hall.

Already, businesses, groups, churches and individuals from the community have begun donating money to the church.

For those interested, donations can be sent to:
Union Chapel United Methodist Church
c/o Pastor Robert Hammond
6479 Raleigh Road
Kittrell, N.C. 27544


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  • Lightfoot3 Aug 14, 2007

    So karma from the Dharmic religions, will hunt down people who make fun of the Christian religions? I didn't know the two had worked out that agreement! :)

  • ptahandatum Aug 14, 2007

    Yeah, Zeus will certainly see to it these people will be taken care of. You can be assured of that. May Zeus keep and bless you and these people. All praise Zeus!

  • Steve Crisp Aug 14, 2007

    I've been in a fire and I was in the house. I've been flooded out during Fran. And I got hammered by Hugo. In each case, I did not stand upon the rubble or ash of my house and its contents and proclaim anything in defiance. I just started picking things up and putting stuff back together.

    It is a natural disaster (or manmade -- it really doesn't matter) that affects an inanimate, material structure. And I don't care how big the disaster may be, you rebuild. And you do it without the histrionics. And you do it with the insurance money, insurance with which you should have full coverage or you should not own a building in the first place.

  • ladyblue Aug 13, 2007

    Steve- Having personally known many people from this church, you miss the point. It's not the church but the memories that went up in smoke with the church. This is an old church with generation after generation of families still attending it. It's a warmth to the people in the church. They need time to grieve and settle from the shock of having lost something so quickly. Pray God you don't ever go through a fire especially if you're in the house when it starts. I know the stock in these people. They will build back. Durwood Wells will make sure of it.

  • NCSULandscaper Aug 13, 2007

    thats quite ok, everyone that wants to make fun of or insult a church burning down, karma will hunt you down, make all the stupid little comments you want.

  • ptahandatum Aug 13, 2007

    Awwww, Hershey. You hurt me so much. Maybe you should do some real reading. How about Misquoting Jesus? How about Letters to a christian Nation? How about Freethinkers? How about the articles about the Eccumenical councils, the council of Nicea, and all the rest of the councils whereby your religion was created BY man, and not some man made god. Remember, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. You like so many others have been so well brainwashed, you wouldn't know the truth if it struck you in the face. I hate like the dickens a good building like this burned down when it could have been used for far better purposes . But, it was used for the express purpose of the continued brainwashing of those who do not read properly. May Zeus bless you and keep you.

  • hersheyspots Aug 13, 2007

    ptahandatum --- you are entitled to your own beleifs & opinions but you should have enough respect for other people & their beleifs to not attack them in a forum such as this. You may not beleive in GOD, as I think most of these posters do, but don't put us down for beleiving!!!!!!

  • ptahandatum Aug 13, 2007

    You go Lightfoot! May Zeus bless you too. ;)

  • Lightfoot3 Aug 13, 2007

    First of all, why would a church even need insurance when God should be powerful enough to protect it? Answer: no god.

    Secondly, why don’t the religious people just pray the church back together? Answer: no god means prayer doesn’t work.


    I agree that money can be MUCH BETTER spend that building temples to Zeus, Amon-Ra, Jehovah, or which ever invisible spook it is that they worship.

  • ptahandatum Aug 13, 2007

    Jenn27537...you do not realize that there are many other people who are not brainwashed by a certain religion such as you and many others are. We are fed up with having to pay our taxes for your free churches. How about all of your religious churches paying your way like the rest of us? Tax your cars, your trucks, buses, your buildings, your tithes, everything you get away with for non-taxation. You get involved with politics don't you? One of the great premises of freedom from taxation is to keep out of politics, yet as Reagan used to say, "There you go again." So, how about all you religious types pony up, and pay your taxes like the rest of us, and get off your free ride. At least Zeus didn't let anyone get hurt with this fire.