Cleveland Church Worships With Renewed Faith After Devastating Fire
CLEVELAND, Oklahoma - The Cleveland First Assembly of God is starting to rebuild after an electrical fire burned down its sanctuary and the pastor's office last week.
The 70-year-old congregation met for its Sunday services for the first time since the fire and focused on the future.
"Really the church wasn't destroyed, just the building," Pastor Dan Edens said.
Edens remembers when he woke up last Monday morning and saw flames shooting from the church's main building.
"When I first saw it burning, I said ‘Oh my, how could this be happening,' you know?" he said. "But, I realize that no matter who you are, all of us go through the rain and the sunshine together, but we know in the end that the Lord is still our security."
The building still stands, but heavy smoke and fire damage destroyed everything inside.
"We've never really been apart all week long," Carolyn Wooten said. "Everybody has just pulled together,"
Wooten, who has attended the Cleveland First Assembly of God most of her life, says not having weekly services in the building she's grown up with won't be the same, but she'll pull through.
"There's 41 years of memories in there, so -- we'll get it built back," Wooten said.
As church leaders work on rebuilding efforts, services are being held next door.
The pastor says the youth building is a temporary fix, but they still need a new building to hold the 120 members of the congregation and replace all those song books and the piano, lost in the fire.
Edens' message is about moving forward and staying strong.
"We might be building a building, but we're not building a church...," he said from the pulpit. "The church is alive and well. Amen!"
And the members have faith their trials will be overcome by their faith.
"It's going to work out," pianist Rebekah Edens said. "We're just all going to stay strong like the tight church family that we are."