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Rebuilding begins at Kittrell church destroyed by fire

After more than a year of fundraising, rebuilding has begun at Union Chapel United Methodist Church. Fire destroyed its sanctuary last year.

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KITTRELL, N.C. — A Vance County church community already knows what it will get for Christmas: a new sanctuary.

“The best Christmas present we have is right out here,” Pastor Robert Hammond said.

Last year, fire destroyed the sanctuary of the Union Chapel United Methodist Church, 6479 Raleigh Road.

The church had stood in Vance County since before the Civil War. In moments, though, lightning sparked a fire that destroyed bibles, hymn books and 178 years of history.

“I heard the clap of thunder with the lightning. I ran out of the house and I ... saw black smoke and knew something had happened,” church member Bryant Wright said.

Days after the fire, Hammond led a service in the church fellowship hall and vowed to rebuild.

“The building is not the church. The people is actually the church,” church member J.D. Wilson Sr. said.

After more than a year of fundraising, the rebuilding has begun.

“We're moving right on with it,” Wilson said.

The foundation is set, and the new sanctuary is scheduled for completion by summer.

“It would be nice if I could get in it tomorrow,” Wright said.

There is still a ways to go, however.

“We're at third base, coming into home plate,” Hammond said.

Insurance covered about $400,000 of the estimated $1 million need to rebuild the church.

Church members are also rebuilding classrooms. They say they are still raising money to furnish those and the sanctuary.

For those who want to help, 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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Beau Minnick, Reporter
Minnie Bridgers, Web Editor

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