Burned Out Tulsa Church Prompts Outdoor Service

Sunday, August 9th 2009, 5:36 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Asamblea Apostolica (Apostle Assembly) church in Tulsa is a total loss after it caught on fire Saturday evening.

The congregation met on the front lawn at 2632 East Admiral Court Sunday morning because they had nowhere else to go.

Pastor Silas Cortez said goodbye to the church he poured his heart and soul into.

"Since last night, I've been praying and crying," said Pastor Silas Cortez, Apostles Assembly Church.

Last month, the church spent $8,000 on new carpets, new musical instruments and on revarnishing the pews.

"Questions just pop up," said Pastor Cortez. "Why did this burn down? Why did this happen to a church?

Tulsa fire investigators say the fire began at the back of the building, but they don't know the exact cause. Damage is estimated at $75,000. No one was inside the church at the time of the fire.

8/8/2009  Related Story: Fire Destroys Tulsa Church

Cortez has been the pastor for the last four years. There's nothing more he can do except pick up the rubble. For him, every pile is a story.

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"The prayer meetings we had here was awesome, and we had a lot of guest speakers, and a lot of people coming in, and we would feel a lot of warmth here, spiritually," said Pastor Cortez.

Two dozen worshippers prayed under the shade of a tree in the front lawn on Sunday. They sang hymns in both Spanish and English. Many of them have been with Asamblea Apostolica (Apostle Assembly) since the beginning.

"It was really shocking because we had a lot of memories in this church, since I was little, so it was a shock for me," said Cinthia Rodriguez, a church member.

Pastor Cortez says he's still looking for a place to hold Sunday services. The church has about 65 members.

Anyone who can offer any help is asked to call Pastor Cortez at 200-7005 or 812-8983. You can also e-mail Pastor Cortez at mailto:cortezworship@yahoo.com.