MORGAN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Lightning from a nasty storm in April last year struck the Bellview Baptist Church on Old Moulton Road in Decatur. Luckily, the sanctuary was spared by the blaze thanks to a quick response time by firefighters. But the church educational building, youth facility and fellowship hall were destroyed.
A year and a half later, a body of believers with a long history in Morgan County celebrated a ribbon cutting to christen their rebuilt facilities.
After the fire of 2011 all Bellview Baptist Church members were left with was a welcome center, a worship hall, and their faith. The Alabama State Board of Missions furnished two mobile facilities providing Sunday school space, but the process for more than a year has been clearing away the rubble and the ashes.
"Also clearing away the emotional damage", said new Bellview Pastor Alan Queen on Sunday. "Because that's hard to lose a facility that old. This body of believers has been here since 1898."
But worshipers at Bellview say they are excited about what the new facilities will mean for their congregation, not just in the short-term.
"I'm excited, I'm anxious but I'm happy," said church member Dianne Ferrell. "We've been waiting a long time to get over here and we went through a lot to have to go through this but we're going to go forward and we're going to do better and we're going to grow."
"Growing forward through the fire," that's even been a lesson theme for this congregation over the past couple of weeks says Pastor Queen.
"Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego the Lord brought through a fiery furnace, this body of believers has come through a fiery furnace and they're ready to come out on the other side and reach people for Christ. They are wanting to leave behind things that need to be consumed and then pick up the new things and move forward," said Queen.