(WBIR - Sneedville) Music filled the inside of the Seal Mathis Community Center Sunday morning, along with members of Briar Creek Baptist Church. Members will now have services at the community center after their church building caught fire Monday morning.
Pastor Joe Davis said, "My heart just dropped seeing the place where we worshiped at every Sunday morning and Sunday night and Wednesdays. It was gone."
Davis said the historic church, established in 1894, went up in flames after a fire started in the women's restroom and the spread. Firefighters suspect it was caused by electric wall heaters in the bathroom, but it is still under investigation.
The fire comes on the heel of at least $60,000 being spent within the last year on church renovations, which included a new roof, new carpet, and stained glass windows.
At Sunday's service, members were able to share some of the memories of the church building. All in attendance, hurting from the loss of the building, are grateful to still be able to worship with one another.
Member Keesha McFarland said, "I was worried about how the service was going to go, but once I walked in and saw my church family and all of those smiling faces I knew everything was going to be okay."
Deacon Chairman Timothy Seal said, "It's just a blessing to come to our church and see our church family, the people that you love so dearly in your life."
Pastor Davis said, "The church is still moving on and that's encouraging for all of us to know that no matter what we go through if we stick together we'll make it through."
The church has $125,000 in insurance for the building and $25,000 for the contents inside. About $45,000 of that money will go toward paying off their remodeling loans from the past year.
Donations for the rebuilding of Briar Creek Baptist Church are being accepted at Civis Bank in Sneedville.