HED:Church begins fire recovery

CATEGORY: Lee County

AUTHOR: BROWN

HED:Church begins fire recovery

By LaRaye Brown

Daily Journal

NETTLETON – More than 100 people dressed in their Sunday best gathered at a plot of red dirt Sunday afternoon for the ground breaking of the Nettleton Pentecostal Church.

“The Lord has given us a beautiful day to have our ground breaking,” pastor Larry Davis told the crowd which was standing in the bright sunshine and cool breeze. “I believe its a sign of the beautiful building the lord is going to give us in the near future.”

A Thanksgiving Day fire caused by an electric wall heater destroyed the church in November. While that building was 43 years old, the church celebrated its 80th anniversary in August.

“It was like losing a family member,” Davis said of the fire before the program. “Now we are very excited about the new facility. God had a plan for us.”

“We’re all excited,” said Cassandra Lee, fund raising chairperson. “Today is happy, but its also sad to think about the other church.”

Since the church was destroyed the 200-member congregation has been worshiping at the local National Guard Amory. During that time, the church’s 13 Sunday school classes were regrouped to three classes.

“We’ve been having to fold chairs since November,” Lee said of meeting at the National Guard. “At Easter we managed quite well. We just put out extra chairs.”

Davis said the fire has not stopped people from coming to worship.

“It actually has made our membership stronger,” Davis said, adding that five or six families have joined the church.

“All the churches around here have been wonderful,” Lee said, noting that other churches have given song books and other donations. Nettleton First Baptist Church members allowed the Pentecostal church to use their sanctuary for a wedding and a funeral, Lee said.

“Our church didn’t burn. Our church is right here,” said Tommy Hall, church trustee board member, as he pointed toward the crowd. “We’re just trying to get a new building.”

The new church will be composed of two buildings, a 100′ by 120′ sanctuary and a 60′ by 100′ activity and education section, Davis said.

Donny Conn, church secretary said nearly $7,000 has been donated to the church and that the insurance “will get most of it, but it won’t get everything.”

The only fund raiser that has been planned for the church is a benefit singing on May 3. For more information on the benefit, call Davis at 963-3256.