Fire-destroyed Greene County Church leads the way six months later | WJHL
GREENE COUNTY, Tennessee (WJHL) – Six months after a fire ravaged a church in Greene County, the congregation is taking the first step towards a new foundation.
The fire broke out at Union Chapel Free Will Baptist Church on Erwin Highway in May 2021. No one was injured in the blaze, but the place of worship for dozens of community members was gone.
Investigators said the cause was undetermined but likely electromechanical in nature.
Dozens of community members came on Sunday to attend the dedication ceremony for the new church.
Services have been held in their separate fellowship room since the fire.
Pastor Lynn Neas looks forward to the day when plans for the new church become a reality.
âIt’s been a lot of hardship, but blessings replace hardship,â Neas said.
Church administrator Eddie Rohrer said he had hope for the new start.
âHe could have collapsed very easily,â Rohrer said. “We keep our promise like I said, we will rebuild, and I meant what I said.”
Neas said it is the generosity of the community that has brought the congregation to this day.
âA man got cancer and drove over and handed me eight dollars,â Neas said. âIt’s hard to accept because he probably needed it more, but he said, ‘I want to be a part of it. “”
Neas hopes to complete the project within the next year.
“It will be a metal structure, practically fireproof,” said Neas. “I told my insurance adjuster, he said no such thing, the Twin Towers burned down and it was steel.”
Neas said the cost of the church is expected to be just over $ 1 million.
âIt overwhelms you,â Neas said. âI’ve lived here my whole life, but never knew many cared. “