Fire destroys church, but not members' faith

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Fire tore through a church in Columbus early Sunday morning. It happened at Torch Hill Road Church of Christ around three o'clock. Investigators are still looking into the cause of the blaze, but church leaders tells News Leader 9, they're already making plans to move beyond this tragedy.

Sunday morning the members of Torch Hill Road Church of Christ weren't gathering for their worship service, but instead they came to assess the damage from an early morning fire.

Torch Hill Road Church of Christ Pastor Jason Flowers said, "It was heart-breaking. It was like someone just punched me in the gut or something."

A year and a half after becoming pastor at Torch Hill Road Church of Christ, Jason Flowers and his wife had to cancel Sunday's service and call each of the 40 members and tell them the devastating news that flames ripped through the entryway and sanctuary of their church. Holly Flowers told News Leader 9, "I'm just so glad that nobody was inside. That was another thought that came to my head pretty fast, was anyone in there? But nobody was, thankfully, so it could have been a lot worse."

Their church home is gone for now, but Holly Flowers says their faith remains, "We have insurance on the building and we can do repairs. I think we are going to be okay again, it might take a few months, but we're going to make it."

Pastor Flowers added, "The congregation of Torch Hill Road Church of Christ was not this building, it's the people. That's the church, the people. The tie that binds us is built in the Lord and we're going to stay together and we are going to be stronger and we are going to rebuild. We're going to be that light upon the hill that this community so badly needs in south Columbus."

The Flowers say fire officials weren't able to locate exactly where or how the fire started, but arson has not been ruled out yet.

"Everybody out there please add us to your prayer list. We have been through some tough times before and I think we're going to be okay," requested Holly Flowers.

Church members say they will be getting together later this week to discuss their next options. But in the meantime they will remain a church family.

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