• 52°

Congregation vows to rebuild after fire

By Shelley Smith
ssmith@salisburypost.com
As the last flames inside Corriher Heights Baptist Church were extinguished Tuesday, firefighters, neighbors and church members stood silently looking at the remains of what was once an anchor in their community.
Firefighters from multiple departments fought the fire at 1980 N.C. 153 for several hours. The roof of the church collapsed, and the steeple fell just inside the doors of the sanctuary. All that remains are the walls of the church, a billboard from the fellowship hall, and a small amount of furniture.
Corriher Heights Pastor Chris Pethel said that hours into the fire he received several invitations from area pastors, inviting the congregation of Corriher Heights to join worship services.
But Pethel has other plans: He hopes to hold the 11 a.m. Sunday worship service at Corriher Heights this Sunday, after work begins clearing out the debris from the fellowship hall this afternoon.
“God’s greater than fire,” Pethel said. “We’ll rebuild.”
The Rowan County Fire Marshal’s Office said a witness saw lightning strike the church about 5:30 a.m., which they say is what set the church ablaze.
Arvil Black, 71, lives behind the church, and has been attending it since he was 14. He heard the lightning strike, but he thought a transformer had blown, so he went back to bed.
Black said his wife’s son went to the church, saw smoke, and opened the front doors to find the pews on fire.
“The way I look at it, it had to be the Lord’s work,” Black said. “And lightning. You can’t control nature.”
• • •
Janet Pethel, wife of Chris Pethel, says Sunday’s worship services were the best in some time.
“Sunday we had the best services,” she said. “There was something special about our services.
“In fact, Sunday night we sat in our living room talking about just how sweet the Lord had been Sunday.”
But even though the memories are gone, she said, “we know the Lord has spoken and moved us in a new direction.”
The church had recently finalized blueprints for a new sanctuary, and planned to use the old sanctuary and fellowship hall as Sunday school classrooms. And now the plans will change, members say.
“We’re gonna have a brand new church,” Chairman of the Deacon Board Bruce Wilson said of the very church where he and his wife, Hazel, became Christians 40 years ago. “There’s a reason for this — get it out of the way so we can build a new one.”
Pethel said he doesn’t believe the fire was an “attempt of Satan to stop the church.”
“I know that God is in control of all things, and if his hand’s in this, then it’s for the better,” he said.
And although he and the congregation will take a while to heal, he said, they’ll, “put their arms around each other.”
“We’ll love each other,” he said. “We’ll do a lot of praying and we’ll do a lot of seeking God’s will.
“God’s blessed us. We have no complaints, we have no regrets.”
Reporter Shelley Smith can be contacted at 704-797-4246.


 
 

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

Superintendent talks first 100 days, dives into district data

Business

‘It was an answer to a call:’ TenderHearted Home Care celebrates 10 years of providing care at home

News

Political Notebook: Local polls find increasing number of North Carolinians want COVID-19 vaccine

News

Trial begins on challenge to latest NC voter ID law

Local

Burch, Fisher, Marsh honored as 2021 recipients of Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award

Landis

Landis board talks revenues, budget planning, department updates

College

College baseball: Catawba rolls 7-1 and 24-1

Nation/World

Student fires at officers at Tennessee school, is killed

Nation/World

Police: Minnesota officer meant to draw Taser, not handgun

Crime

Man receives consecutive prison sentences for sex offenses

BREAKING NEWS

RSS Board of Education approves Faith Elementary sale

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department receives 400 Pfizer, 800 Johnson & Johnson vaccines for week

Crime

Blotter: Accident in Food Lion only weekend shooting to produce injuries

Crime

Salisbury man charged with felony drug crimes

Crime

Second person charged in thefts from house near county line

Crime

Police use tear gas to end robbery stand off, arrest suspect

Local

Ask Us: When will Rowan Public Library’s West Branch open?

Nation/World

Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop’s trial in Floyd death

Nation/World

Officer accused of force in stop of Black Army officer fired

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with hitting man with car, fleeing while intoxicated

Local

‘Meet the need’: Rowan County Health Department looks to add to vaccination options

Local

Seaford is first woman in county hired for town manager position since the ’90s

Local

Colonial Spring Frolic makes a comeback to kick off museum’s year

Local

Concord City Council wants to name bridge for fallen officer, Rowan native