Church holds service day after fire destroys sanctuary

Church holds service day after fire destroys sanctuary
Church service goes on - despite destroyed Sanctuary (Photo Source: WLOX News)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A Gulfport church is putting the pieces back together after their sanctuary was destroyed.

"Yeah, so this is what happened - everything is really gone, it's all gone," said Senior Pastor Dr. Travis Anderson.

He and the Hillside Baptist Church are using the word of God to come to grips with an arsonist setting their sanctuary on fire, destroying nearly everything.

"God may not will everything, but he's working in everything," Anderson said.

The suspect, 22-year-old Caleb Bell, is being held without bond in the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, charged with arson and burglary. But what's troubling to church members is they say they know him.

"He comes regular. He's been here before several times, we've seen him before, he's sat in the congregation," said Minister Robert Edwards.

The setback - they say - giving them all the more reason to not let the devastation keep them from Sunday service. With the sanctuary unusable, they relocated to the fellowship hall.

"Something happened to the place we worship. Nothing happened to us," Anderson said.

The congregation packed into the small space, not letting a bit of cramping affect their commitment to God.

"Deuteronomy 29:29, I wanted to preach today about I can't tell you why, but God can - and I'll wait to let him do it," Anderson said.

The church says the fire could be a blessing in disguise since they had plans of rebuilding. As the church moves forward, they'll continue to look to the word to order their steps.

Click here to help the church rebuild.

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