Church: 'We will rebuild'

March 4, 2009 8:02:26 AM PST
Just weeks before celebrating its 70th anniversary, parishioners of a northeast Harris County church watched it burn Tuesday afternoon. There's not a whole lot left of the building. Now, their message is "we will rebuild."[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Almost 70 years of memories were gone in less than an hour. The flames could be seen from the freeway in northeast Harris County. In just minutes, fire tore through the old, yet familiar sanctuary.

"It's been here quite awhile," said former pastor J.S. Phillips.

Firefighters worked to get to intense flames, even using a saw to get through the doors, while so many members recalled so many memories.

"We have lost more than a church, we have lost part of our history," said Pearl Patton, a church member for 25 years.

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church is just one month from celebrating its 70th year.

"We still plan to celebrate the 70 years and enjoy ourselves and say thank God we're still here," said church deacon Charles Ray Walker.

Their worship home is now a charred mess.

"It looks like the fire started above the pulpit because the chandelier and stuff is still hanging, but where all the drums are, it hasn't collapsed," said church pastor Rev. Stanley Miller.

While the congregation may be small in numbers, just 75 members, they said this is a test to show how big they are in strength.

"Everything happens for a reason though. God is good. It's going to be alright," said Rev.Miller.

Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire. Leaders of the church are looking to find a place to hold services until they can rebuild.

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