A Ballston Spa congregation heads to their church Sunday after lightning struck the building Wednesday and left some significant damage. But as YNN's Erin Moran tells us, they're not letting Wednesday's fire interrupt their church service or their faith.
BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. -- “Last time we rebuilt it, the tower was still there. That was the only thing that survived last time. And this time, that's damaged and the rest of it survived,” said John Meier, a member of the congregation at Ballston Center Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.
Wednesday night brought back all too familiar feelings for John and his wife, Miriam. They've been members at the Ballston Center Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church for nearly forty years and they can still remember watching the building burn to the ground back in October of 1993.
“That was such a feeling for us because at that time, the church went to the ground and that's the church where our kids were baptized in the sanctuary,” said Meier.
And the Meiers watched again Wednesday night as lightning struck the bell tower steeple on the building and set it ablaze.
“It’s quite a shocking reminder that God is in control,” said Miriam Meier.
The 150 plus member congregation moved their services Sunday to their fellowship hall in the back of the building.
“You can second guess and try to figure out what all this means. And I don't know that there's any one thing, there may be any number of things. I just know this, our church and the message we have is getting a lot more attention now than what it was,” said Pastor Charles Roberts of the Ballston Center ARP Church.
The fire caused structural damage to the bell tower outside and there was water and smoke damage on the inside. Pastor Roberts estimated the congregation will be out of its sanctuary for at least a month.
But the people of the church said the idea of “church” isn't about the building you worship in, but the people you worship with.
“Yes, it's a sad thing and it's a hard thing. But it's only a building,” said Margaret Morrone, a congregation member.
“I think it serves as a reminder that the church is the Assembly of God's people, God’s covenant people, coming together. It's not a building," Roberts said.
Pastor Roberts said the building is insured and the rebuild process will begin later this week. For now, the congregation vowed to rely on their undeterred faith and said they know the future is in God's hands.
“My favorite verse is 'Be still and know that I am God'. He's in charge, not us, so we've got nothing to worry about,” said John Meier.