Church Fire Can't Dampen Congregation's Spirit

State and County Fire Marshals have spent two days sifting through piles of rubble looking for clues of what could have started the fire at the church, but they still don't have an answer. But even when the answer is found... can't replace what people like Church Secretary Gayle Robinson watch be destroyed.

"I just kept telling myself it's just a building, it's just a building, but it was a sweet building with a lot of memories," church secretary Gayle Robinson says.

The church's pastor, William Gary Smith, is also having a hard time coping with the loss.

"Our children grew up here," Rev. Smith says.  "They were baptized here; two were married here as well as hundreds of others.  We've had more then a thousand baptisms services here in this church."

Church members say they know rising from the ashes won't be easy, but they say with faith they will.

"We're not looking back; we're looking forward," chruch clerk Jane Manuel says.  "We've been able to continue on.  Pre-school will begin January 8th, on schedule.  We know that God has a plan for us."

Despite the fact the church lost everything in the two buildings that were destroyed by the fire, church services and most other activities have continued. Services are being held in the Church Gymnasium and other classrooms that firefighters were able to save.

"If it weren't for them, we wouldn't have anything left standing," Manuel says.

Church leaders say they do plan to rebuild the church, hopefully to its original state.

"Maybe some of the bricks can be spared and put in the new building, and some of the columns partly destroyed be replaced as a token of honor to the people who scarified to build this building," Rev. Smith says.

"The outpouring in this community has been unreal," Manuel says.  "The love, the prayers, the money, just people stopping by.  I know that the Lord's in control and he has a plan for First Baptist Carriere."