Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Black River Church is rebuilt following 2006 fire.

Black River Church of the Brethren in Spencer, Ohio, dedicated a new building on July 20, a year and a half after the church burned to the ground on Christmas Eve night 2006. The church celebrated being able to worship in its new building with a two-day event, including two baptisms on the dedication Sunday, preceded by an open house on the 19th with music, food, and fellowship.

At the dedication, 120 people were in attendance. "Everything is going well," said pastor Mark Teal.

The story of the rebuilding of Black River Church of the Brethren is one of partnership and widespread support. Black River Church has received significant financial help from congregations in the Northern Ohio District, and district executive minister John Ballinger took part in the dedication service. The church also has received support, donations, and prayers from Brethren across the country, as well as businesses and other churches in the community.

"It was really miraculous how the church got built," said Teal. He reported that the congregation received donations of over $100,000, which along with insurance provided almost all the money needed for the new church building. The congregation has had to take a loan only for repairs to the parsonage and other things not directly related to the church building. Local businesses and churches have donated furniture, including a Clorox Co. factory that closed. "Every appliance that's in our kitchen has been donated," Teal said.

The donations have come "from far and wide," he added. "We've had donations from California and Florida. We've even had a donation from China, from someone who had a connection to the church. And donations from Brethren from everywhere." Teal specifically mentioned a large donation from a "neighbor"--Mohican Church of the Brethren in West Salem, Ohio.

Significant support came from Chatham Community Church, located just two miles down the road. Chatham Community had merged a United Methodist congregation and a congregational congregation, and offered Black River Church the use of one of its two buildings after the fire. Black River Church met in the building for nearly a year and a half.

Simmons Brothers Construction, a company which Teal said works regularly with churches, called on the second day after the fire to offer free planning and architectural services. Teal emphasized that the church used an appropriate bidding process, but found that the company gave them the best offer. "They just gave us an amazing deal. It wouldn't have been possible without them."

"We're really blessed, I tell you," said Teal. "It was amazing the way God used so many people.... God is good."

Source: 9/10/2008 Newsline

No comments: