At 87, ‘disaster deacon’ opens his heart — and church — to flooding victims
TULSA, Okla. — Oh, Kenneth Hearrell has stories to tell.…
Update: Since the congregation did not have insurance, a GoFundMe account has been established to help the church rebuild their building. You can find details of how much they are raising and where the money will go at renew.TheCamdenChurch.com.
As Ken Spence walked through the charred remains of the Camden Church of Christ in New Jersey, he used Facebook to give his friends and followers a look at the damage.
As he pointed the camera toward a collapsed portion of the church’s roof, the minister said, “We have a sunroof here.”
Humor, he said, has helped him and the congregation’s 50 members cope with the reality that their building was destroyed.
Fire officials told him that the blaze broke out between 4 and 5 a.m. Monday. It likely started in the kitchen, possibly due to an electrical issue.
“My first thought seeing it was, ‘Well, God, what are you about to do?’” Spence told The Christian Chronicle.
Members recently have been talking about how they can trust God more with their lives.
“The statement that kept ringing in my mind was: Great faith doesn’t come without great trial,” Spence said.
The building where the Camden Church of Christ has gathered for the past 30 years was built in the 1890s. Before housing the Camden church, it served as a Masonic lodge. But the building originally was the meeting place of a Presbyterian church.
While the inside was destroyed by the fire, Spence says the exterior walls seem to have held up well to the flames.
“The bones of the building are strong,” he said.
‘Well, God, what are you about to do?’
Unfortunately, the congregation does not have insurance for the building.
Now church members are trying to figure out if they can rebuild or if they’ll need to find a new meeting place. For now, the nearby Collingswood Church of Christ, just 10 minutes down the road, has agreed to let them share their building.
The church is accepting donations through PayPal to help with the rebuilding process. You can donate by going to www.PayPal.me/CamdenChurchOfChrist.
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