One day after fire destroyed a church in El Reno, the congregation is rejoicing.
The Faith Family Church worshiped Sunday morning like they always do, to begin the healing process through prayer.
“They all showed up and I was like, ‘Wow,'” said Paul Roach, who has been pastor at the church for 25 years.
The First Christian Church offered its Fellowship Hall to Roach and his congregation to worship until they have a more permanent place to worship.
On Saturday, a fire destroyed the Faith Family Church building, located at 1205 Sunset Drive. On Sunday, only a wall and sign were still standing. Roach recalls the moment he arrived and saw the church on fire.
“Smoke was coming out everywhere,” Roach said. “Then I saw fire shoot up through the roof. I knew then it was all gone.”
Longtime church member Betty Eaglenest was overwhelmed by the loss.
“All the memories came back, 23 years of teaching the children,” she said. “All the pictures, they're gone.”
Micheal McClain said his wedding vows inside the church.
“We have our wedding pictures really big on our wall and I was thinking those were taken out behind the church,” he said. “The wall is no longer there.”
While the somber reality sets in, though, Roach says he has a surprising feeling of peace.
“I was sitting there and I knew we were going to be alright,” Roach said.
And that is a feeling shared by his congregation.
“I think it's more the people than the actual building,” said McClain. “I don't think the building makes that much of a difference.”
The church plans to rebuild in the same location
“Our church is an overcoming church and with God, we can do all things and it's going to be better than before,” said Eaglenest.