UPDATE: 12/15/19 (5:00 P.M.)– It’s been four days since China Grove Missionary Baptist Church watched their building burn to the ground.
In addition, it’s the first Sunday the congregation can’t worship in their own church.
“The overwhelming response shows that the love of Christ still exists,” said Damian Wilson, Pastor of China Grove Baptist Church.
Multiple pastors in the Ruston community have offered up their support.
Mount Harmony Missionary Baptist Church opened its doors to Pastor Wilson and China Grove so they could have a place to worship on the Lord’s day.
“It is important to us that if we are going to be believers, if we are going to be Christian disciples, it is our job to not only say we are the church but to be the church God has called us to be,” said Quincy Knox, Pastor of Mount Harmony Missionary Baptist Church.
China Grove Baptist Church is living by a motto: the church is not a building but the people inside.
“Realizing that we might have lost a structure, but the people inside that building are what make up the church, said Pastor Wilson. “When God comes back, he’s coming back not for the building but the people.”
“I need to remind you of a few things. The building may be gone but you’re still here. The church is still on fire,” said a member of church congregation.
The sermon brought a reminder to trust God as He is in control.
“You find yourself looking at your situation. Looking at your problem rather than looking at your God,” said Pastor Wilson.
“To have two churches come together under one roof to serve one good, I’m excited to see what the Lord is going to do today,” said Pastor Knox.
Pastor Wilson says instead of looking back on what happened, they are looking forward to see how God plans to use them and their building.
“God has just been setting the scene and the foundation of the fact that there is going to be a rebirth and a rebuilding process with China Grove. We have to be prepared for it,” said Pastor Wilson.
China Grove also had a Christmas celebration this afternoon at 3:00.
New Hope Baptist Church, in Ruston, opened its doors to China Grove so that the service could still happen.
UPDATE: 12/12/19 (3:00PM) — Church members and the pastor gather outside the church this morning to mourn the loss of their home.
“It’s definitely a home. I grew up here. My whole 44 years this has been my church…I never dreamed of being a pastor in the church, but this is where God brought me and we have people who’ve been here 60, 70 years or more,” said Damian Wilson, Pastor of China Grove Church.
The church has served the Grambling community for over 100 years.
“We’ve been here for a long time, but you know we get to put our own stamp on this new building–it’s gonna be a new building. We’re gonna put up a new building. We’re gonna move forward. This is not gonna stop us,” said Wilson.
Church members say they are ready to move forward and build a new building in the future.
“Fire is something that once it burns up, then new things grow out of it and so a new church is gonna grow and it’s gonna be a better church than there ever was,” said Wilson.
Grambling, Louisiana (KTVE/KARD)(12/12/19)— China Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Grambling is burned down overnight.
According to Pastor Damian Wilson, he received a call about 2 A.M. saying the church was ‘engulfed in flames’.
We spoke to members of the church about this horrific event, and they say they are devastated by this loss, as China Grove was a historical landmark in their community.
Pastor Wilson says they were gearing up for their annual ‘Christmas at the Grove’ celebration, and right now, all this seems unreal.
He also states that once they have more information from the fire marshal’s office, they plan to begin the process to rebuild.
We have a crew on the scene and will update this story as more information becomes available.
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