Members of burned church in Seminole attend Christmas services

Sunday, December 25th 2005, 1:35 pm
By: News On 6

SEMINOLE, Okla. (AP) -- Delivering the Christmas morning sermon in a makeshift sanctuary, First Assembly of God Pastor Doyle Long saw hope and faith in the faces of his congregation.

The night before, he saw the church where he has ministered for the past two decades destroyed by fire. Long said Sunday the church didn't burn, just the building.

Saturday's blaze did an estimated $350,000 in damage, destroying everything inside. No one was hurt.

Long says every church in the community of 7,000, as well as other businesses and a funeral home, have called and offered to help.

Long says the church was insured and he plans to meet with church leaders this week about the future.

Seminole Fire Captain Richard Lay says it's possible the fire was arson.

Lay says Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents will be at the scene Monday.

Authorities say the state fire marshal has recommended the building be torn down for safety reasons.