Monday, July 20, 2009

News Briefs

Needless to say, the church fire has dominated much of our time and thoughts these past several days (for Matt even more so than me, of course). Matt has been keeping his blog and the church website updated with news and information, but outside of our family members, I don’t think we have too much overlap in our blog readership, so I’ll give some updates and links here as well.

The Clarksville paper and Nashville-area TV stations came out to the church property on Thursday to cover the aftermath of the fire. I was interviewed for a couple stations but they didn’t use any of it. Church members’ emotional reactions and recollections were much more important for the story, and the Clarksville mayor said pretty much what I did anyway. For coverage of the fire, visit these sites:

Leaf Chronicle article and photos
News 2 WKRN
Channel 4 WSMV
Channel 5

Matt arrived back in Nashville around 9:00 pm Thursday, and set to work Friday on logistics for Sunday and beyond, and on offering much-needed pastoral care to long-time church members who were most distressed by the loss of their church building. Saturday, Matt and some other men from the church built a “wailing wall” from the bricks of a toppled chimney, and Matt finalized arrangements for Sunday’s outdoor service at the site.

Yesterday’s service was essentially a funeral for the building, and a time for grieving and mourning before beginning the hard work of rebuilding and re-envisioning the future of Bethlehem UMC. We sang hymns attesting to God’s faithfulness throughout all circumstances, offered prayers for healing and unity, and received communion in celebration of God’s grace and provision.

Again, there was media coverage, and those pieces are accessible here:

News 2 WKRN
Fox 17
Leaf Chronicle article and photos

I don't know if these links will stay active long-term, but I'm listing them all here as sort of a record anyway. It's been kind of a surreal time. Matt's face was the first thing shown on the 5:00 news Sunday night (ch. 2) and it's all just kind of crazy. There's such a long road to recovery for this congregation, and we are so appreciative of everyone's prayers and support.

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