SEARCY, Ark. – A Searcy church that’s survived more than a century catches fire, but not all hope is lost.
Christ Temple Church of Christ caught fire Tuesday, March 16th. Pastor Robert Nichols and his wife Phyllis talked about the impact it’s had in the community.
“For a church to stand more than one hundred years, it’s touched a whole lot of lives,” Phyllis said.
It’s a place that’s stood the test of time, but it’s now filled with ash and soot.
“We saw the smoke coming out, billowing out of the steeple area,” Pastor Nichols said.
They both watched as flames shot out of the roof of their home for the last decade.
“Stood with our members and friends on the fence here and just looked,” Pastor Nichols said.
“Extremely heartbreaking,” Phyllis said.
As 30 Searcy firefighters battled the blaze, the Nichols weren’t concerned about the building as much as the people it serves.
“So many people depend on the services we provide. They look to this place for inspiration and hope without judgment,” Phyllis said.
As they walk through and see the damage from the inside, they are thankful the place of worship is still intact.
“That steeple represents the beacon of hope that this church is in this community,” Phyllis said.
As one prayer was answered, others came knocking on the door.
“People that we’ve never met before walking up wanting to know ‘how can we help.’ This community pulls together,” Phyllis said.
Now as they look to rebuild, they know it will take a lot of work, but Pastor Nichols thinks of what he tells his congregation every Sunday.
“I used to say this in my prayers ‘fire doesn’t break out, thief doesn’t break in.’ Well, no thief has broken in, but the fire has broken out. It’s kind of slowed us down, but guess what, we’re going to keep on fighting,” Pastor Nichols said.
The Church is having a cleanup event on Saturday. It starts at 9 a.m.