by Joshua Gill
A multiple alarm fire decimated a historic church in Massachusetts, but by some miracle, a painting of Jesus survived the flames almost completely unscathed.
A fire ignited in the First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, Tuesday evening after a lightning bolt struck the building, burning the majority of the 150-year-old church to ashes. A painting of Jesus that hung near the church’s entrance somehow survived. Congregants hailed it as a reminder of Jesus’s living presence and power.
“It’s a beautiful sign and a reminder that Jesus is with us,” congregant Maria Kakolowski said according to Daily Mail.
“I’m personally just taking as a sign and a reminder that the Jesus Christ we serve is still alive and even though our church building is gone, our church is here and the God that we serve is still here,” she added.
The painting sustained a few minor drips, but remains otherwise intact. The church, however, is another story.
“I was down about a mile away and I just saw this fireball in the sky. It just went up like a tinderbox. It’s a building built in 1870 and and it’s balloon-style so once the fire starts you know the whole building just went up quickly,” Reverend Doctor Norm Bendroth, the church’s pastor, told Boston 25 News.
About 100 firefighters fought the blaze, some sustaining minor injuries in the process, and eventually extinguished it. The roof, steeple and interior of the church were reduced to ashes save for some blackened framing, though much of the exterior walls remain.
The fire caused damages totaling approximately $1 million. The church has begun raising funds online in order to rebuild.
“While we lost our historic building from a lightning strike this week, we praise Jesus that our church community was kept safe. A very big thank you to the many firefighters who did their jobs with excellence, and to the outpouring of support from the community,” a statement from the church read.
“We know that we serve a God who specializes in restoring brokenness and who can bring beauty even from ashes. So we move into the future with trust, hope, and gratitude,” the statement added.
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