East TN church worships in new sanctuary following fire

11:57 PM, Jul 14, 2013   |    comments
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(WBIR - Knoxville) An East Tennessee church, full of history, began a new era Sunday after a devastating fire destroyed its sanctuary several years ago.

In 2010, a fire tore through Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in East Knoxville. The blaze happened just two hours before members were scheduled to gather inside the church for a Christmas party.

Ever since that incident, Mt. Calvary has held its services in the church gymnasium.

But now, that's finally over.

On Sunday, the church unveiled its new sanctuary. It has plenty of new features, too.

Improvements include new lights, projectors and speakers. Reverend Leroy Franklin said the sanctuary even has more space for seating and classes too.

"He's [God] telling us, don't look back," Franklin said. "What you want is in front of you."

He said the new sanctuary cost millions of dollars to build. However, he said he is confident the church will be able to pay off the expenses with tithes and offerings.

While the new sanctuary will offer the church an upgrade over its temporary worship setting, members won't let the new facility change them.

"Even though we have a new building, the worship doesn't change," church usher Anita Hemphill said.

Reverend Franklin said Mt. Calvary will hold an official dedication for its sanctuary in September.

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