Tulsa church destroyed by fire is being rebuilt by members of its congregation

Wednesday, November 9th 2005, 1:42 pm
By: News On 6

A Tulsa church gutted by fire last year is being rebuilt, thanks to the hard work of its congregation.

As News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin explains, when they learned there wasn't enough money to cover the cost of construction, church members picked up tools and did it themselves. It's been more than a year since flames, apparently sparked by carelessly aimed fireworks, burned a small Tulsa church to the ground, leaving its congregation without a place to call home.

Church members vowed to rebuild and after months of hard work, are well on their way. Pastor Felix Moreno: “we just had faith in God and everything is possible." Because they had just bought the building when the fire happened, most of the insurance money went to pay off the loan, leaving little for church members to rebuild. Ever since they've been doing the work on their own, piece by piece as they raise a little money. “We make tamales, we sell them and that's how we do the fundraiser. Just raise a little bit, and we do something, then we raise a little more and we do something else."

Along with community donations, like some pews, the church has raised $30,000 so far, but still needs at least twice that much before it will be ready for services once again. Members donate their time, often working late into the night after spending the day at their regular jobs. "This is our life, it's our life and being involved in it, what it is for us, it's like a family and this is like working in our house."

With little construction experience in the group, Pastor Moreno is amazed at what's been accomplished. "We have our limits, and sometimes when I see something that's gone beyond our limits, I think God's helping us. Just looking at the church members, 23 people, this is not something we could've done by ourselves."

They hope to be done by next year, but church members are still trying to raise between $60,000 and $80,000 to finish the work.