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Congregation Continues Worship Services, Despite 4-Alarm Fire

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A four-alarm fire engulfed a Northeast Baltimore church but Sunday, the congregation continued worship services amidst the destruction.

As Tim Williams reports, church and community members are showing support and vowing to rebuild the historic structure.

As members arrive for Sunday worship, the program is well underway. Sunday services for the Northwood-Appold United Methodist Church have moved to the church’s charter school across the street, having barely missed a beat from the Sunday before.

“No one was hurt. Everyone is fine, we have insurance and we will worship on Sunday at 10:30 at the school,” said a church member.

Bystanders snapped a picture early Friday, a little after 3 a.m. Flames shot through the roof as more than 100 firefighters battled the four-alarm blaze that spread to nearby buildings. No one was inside but neighbors looked on in shock.

“Just such a loss. I’ve never seen a fire like that in my life,” a neighbor said.

The loss and the determination were more evident by daylight.

“We want it to be safe. We want a solid rebuild, but we want to be back up and running as quickly as possible,” said Pastor Cecil Gray.

“We know that God wants us to do bigger things and those are the plans,” said parishioner Sonya Hunt Gray.

And while Friday the steeple stood skyward, it has since been taken down because the structure could no longer support it. The cross atop it has been salvaged and will be incorporated into services as the church moves forward.

“In order to get to your goals, you need to not focus on the obstacles,” said parishioner Randolph Jews.

“There’s no question. This must rise again and we will help,” said Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke.

Now using Power Point because the hymnals and Bibles burned in the fire, the church moves into 2014 resolved to move back into its church.

Cause of the fire and damage estimates have not yet been determined.

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