Taylor Chapel Holds Sunday Service Despite Embers

By Rachel Martin

January 6, 2013 Updated Jan 6, 2013 at 7:36 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – The sanctuary burned down a week ago, but the congregation at Taylor Chapel United Methodist Church remains resilient by having service Sunday morning among the embers.

It was a bittersweet Sunday morning at Taylor Chapel United Methodist Church as the congregation celebrated being back at church, but mourned the loss of part of their home.

"This week has been a profound experience of wandering down a path we've never been before. In the midst of all the things we worry about, just like one of my Lay Leaders said this morning 'Hey we're having church today,” said Senior Pastor Steve Conner.

A fire broke out in the sanctuary last Monday morning, leaving the congregation to gather in the Family Life Center. During fellowship, it was a tearful time as a video slideshow played reliving all the memories that were held in their sanctuary.

"It's a real mixture of sadness especially because so many memories were here of baptisms and weddings,” said Susie Powley, the church’s Administrative Assistant.

“I tell them you go back and revisit those memories, and those memories are all of the people not the building, not the structure,” said Pat Fawley, whose family has been attending Taylor Chapel since 1960.

Sunday morning the church was filled with fellowship and support as members of other churches attended service to pray for healing.

"Like Jeremiah 29:11 says, 'We have a hope and a future because of God's plan for us' and that's what we're going to claim,” said Pastor Steve.

"I look forward to what our future will be, but I look backward with a lot of good memories,” said Fawley.

But despite their loss, Pastor Steve says he and his congregation are blessed for what they do have.

"We're still together as a people, we still have our mission, we still have work to do, we still have a place to gather,” he said.

Pastor Steve says the sanctuary will most likely have to be re-built, and for the 10 to 12 months that will be going on, they'll continue to have service in the Family Life Center.

As for preschool, that will reconvene on Wed. Jan 9.

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