By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — When a massive fire hollowed out the beloved Northwood-Appold United Methodist Church on the corner of two busy streets in northeast Baltimore, it’s congregation wept, but quickly went about returning the shell into a sanctuary.

Northwood-Appold United Methodist Church fire

It’s been said that the church, has been the physical and spiritual center of Northwood.

The physical part changed in December 2013, when a four-alarm fire burned so hot, metal melted. The steeple hollowed out and the stained glass was gone.

Tho the rubble still hot, the pastor looked forward.

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

The steeple was unsafe and is quickly taken down. The congregation moving across the street to it’s charter school.

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

“In order to get to your goals, you need not focus on obstacles and we’re not focusing on obstacles we’re going to move forward,” said another parishioner.

Nearly three years since, where there once was open sky, the church is now fully rebuilt — it even smells new.

“We’re back and we’re thankful,” said Pastor Cecil Conteen Gray.

The steeple is back, and there’s a lot of thanks to go around.

“We’re United Methodists, we’ve had help from Baptists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, apostolic, holiness, and I think some agnostics and atheists have helped, I believe that,” said Pastor Gray.

Geneva Ferguson leads the board of directors.

“I am grateful to be back here and I think the whole congregation is grateful to be back, I know they are,” she said.

A grateful congregation putting its trust in God and it’s money in a full sprinkler system.

The church was fully insured. The costs are still being totaled.

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