Church members count their blessings after lightning strikes a fire

The church was reportedly full, but services were canceled due to the threat of severe weather

AMORY, Miss. (WCBI) – A lightning strike during thunderstorms on Wednesday evening is responsible for a fire at a church in Monroe County.

The fire caused damage to the church building, but the pastor and congregation are counting their blessings and preparing for Easter Sunday.

Lightning struck Amory First Assembly of God around 7:20 a.m. Wednesday night.

“One of the girls from our church called me and said, ‘Pastor Justin, Mamaw, his grandmother lives here, said lightning struck the church and it was on fire,'” said Pastor Justin Myers.

This is how Pastor Myers first heard that the church he had led for six years was on fire. On a typical Wednesday evening, Pastor Justin, along with hundreds of other church members, would have left midweek services, many talking and fellowshipping in the lobby, where parts of the ceiling collapsed when the lightning strike.

“I’m the kind of person who’s been in church all my life, I know the sign of a healthy church is people sticking around and talking, when you have community and fellowship, that’s a good thing. thing. We would have had people here in this area, but because we had no church, no one was here, thank God,” Pastor Myers said.

Just outside the main entrance, more signs of the power of the lightning as pieces of the broken steeple lay in the parking lot.

Amory Fire Chief Zack McGonagill said the quick response from firefighters meant the blaze was extinguished within 20 minutes and damage was limited to part of the roof and the church lobby.

“It takes a team to pull something like this out and do an extinction, and by the grace of God we had a good stoppage last night,” Chief McGonagil said.

The lightning and fire occurred four days before Easter Sunday, the most important celebration for any church. And while the sanctuary may not be ready for Easter Sunday services, the church’s family life center, built two years ago, debt-free, during Covid, will do just fine.

“We are going to have a service this Sunday, one service, we normally have two, at 10:30 a.m. in our family life center, we are moving all our things to have a service so that we can welcome everyone in there, the le greatest day in history if you are a Christian,” Myers said.

Myers also wanted to thank pastors and church members from across the region and denominational lines, who are offering any assistance as the cleanup and repairs are underway.

Pastor Myers estimates that it will take a few months to repair the damage caused by lightning and fire.

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