Members of church destroyed by fire move service outside
By Lauren Walsh
A fire didn't stop members of a Jefferson County church from worshipping Sunday morning. Members of Clayridge Baptist Church gathered for service in its parking lot, just a day after an early morning fire burned the sanctuary."The church is, if it's completely demolished we're still going to have service no matter what," explained Tori Brasher. "If we had to meet in one of our yards, or if we had to meet somewhere where we could all congregate and gather, we would meet because that's what families do," added Wonda Mason.Ash filled pews remained empty Sunday morning at Clayridge Baptist Church, but its spirit remained full. The congregation arrived early to set up a tent and chairs in the parking lot."We are having services this morning outside here because the building is not usable but the people are," said Pastor Ron Hudgens.Hudgens says a fire around 3:30 Saturday morning started in the administrative area, "then it worked its way with the heat and the roof into the sanctuary and then there's smoke damage and water damage all over the bottom floor, but smoke damage throughout the entire building."The pastor says the building is paid off and insurance will help cover the repairs. "The state and local fire marshal have investigated. It was deemed by them that it wasn't criminal- that it was some sort of other fire, could be electrical."Clean up crews were already on site Sunday to begin to assess the damage. Meanwhile, church members say they'll continue to worship the old fashioned way. "I'm going to praise the Lord that nobody was hurt," said Mason. "I'm going to praise the lord that it's a beautiful day. And im going to praise the lord that we are all still here and noting happened to anybody and we're going to still worship him whether we are outside under his roof or inside of a building."The church is requesting donations to help replenish its daycare that was also destroyed by the fire. Until it is rebuilt, the school will be held at Clearview Baptist Church beginning Monday morning.
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