Fire Destroys Gideon Grove United Methodist Church In Stokesdale

11:40 PM, Dec 23, 2012   |    comments
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Stokesdale, NC -- The one place that parishoners called home on church nights is now gone.

Saturday night around 10:30 the Gideon Grove United Methodist Church was destroyed by fire.  The building is located on Gideon Grove Church Road in Stokesdale. 

More than 75 firefighters from several agencies worked for hours to put out a fire at the historic church in Rockingham County. Several crews stayed throughout the night to continue putting out hot spots.

Robert Cardwell, the Rockingham County Fire Marshall says the fire started in the santuary and quickly spread to the front. The roof collapsed but firefighters were able to save the church's fellowship hall which is connected to the santuary. At least 75% of the church is a loss.

Fire departments from Stokesdale, Summerfield, Huntsville, Oak Ridge, Greensboro, Madison, Jackson's Creek, Colfax and Bethenny assisted. Cardwell says firefighters had to shuttle water to the church because no hydrants were available. 

The pastor of the church says there were a lot of memories in the building that stood from 1894.

"It was just hard to watch," says Rev. Lancaster. "There's been a lot of love, a lot of babies and weddings and funerals that has taken place in that church and so it was a lot to see go down."

Rev. Lancaster says she was excited to see the congregation show up last night. Members were able to save some items from the nursery, the kids room and even a picture commemorating the church's 100th anniversary.

The congregation of about 35 people will gather at its sister church for Sunday morning worship at Palestine United Methodist Church on Ellisboro Road.

Rev. Lancaster says they'll have a good Christmas despite the loss because "God will resurrect new things out of the ashes."

No one was in the building at the time of the fire but one firefighter had to be taken to the hospital for some medical issues.

Stay with digtriad.com and WFMY News 2 for updates on the investigation.

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