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Tabernacle Baptist Church continues to worship despite fire

7:38 PM, Jan 22, 2012   |    comments
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Tabernacle Baptist Church transformed a school auditorium into a sanctuary Sunday morning.

A fire in the attic of the church on Martin Luther King Boulevard damaged their 60-year-old building Thursday night. The blaze destroyed parts of the church, but didn't harm the building's overall structure.

Despite the damage, it didn't break the church community's spirit

Their voices lifted up songs of praise at the Vine Middle School auditorium. They celebrated what the fire spared.

Talking about the flames spewing from the attic of the church brought Pastor Chris Battle to tears. But he didn't let it get his congregation down.

"Tabernacle is on fire! We're on fire for the Lord! We're on fire by his spirit! And this is a fire that you can't put out!" he preached.

This is the second time in the church's history fire has damaged its buildings.

"I can remember when I was 5 years old and stood on the back porch and watched the old church burn down," said church member J.J. Jackson.

After last week's fire, they won't have to rebuild as they did before. They'll only have to refurbish parts of the church.

Pastor Battle says this setback has already taught them so much, especially about how the community can come together in a time of need.

"The fire happened Thursday night. We had a place to worship Friday morning," Pastor Battle said.

The church will celebrate its 100th anniversary in March and hope to be back in their sanctuary by then. The congregation plans to have services in the Vine Middle School auditorium until then.

Crews are currently working in the dark to clean up the smoke and water damage.

The cause of the fire is still unknown but Knoxville Fire Department says it does not appear to be suspicious.

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