Bill McDonald, roommate of Mac Harris at Transylvania, now senior minister at Crestwood Christian Church, Lexington, KY, writes:
“I am so sad for you and all who loved that church building. As you know,
the church itself, being the people, remains. But having pastored at Midway
[Christian Church, Midway, KY], I know the huge part that a historic
building plays in the life of a church. It stands as a symbol of past
witness and future hope. So I too mourn your loss. My prayer is for this
to be a uniting, energizing moment for the church. Sometimes tragedies move
us out of our complacency or apathy and propel us to new heights. That is
my hope for Bethany. Keep the faith, my friends.”
The portrait of Jesus Christ which once adorned the sanctuary, but in recent years has been exhibited on the south wall of the John M. Waters Fellowship Hall, is still hanging on that wall while the sanctuary still smolders. The fire did major damage to the east wall of the hall adjoining the sanctuary. Windows on both sides of the portrait were knocked out and the blinds melted, but the portrait remains, just as faith in the future remains in the hearts of the Bethany Christian church family and extended family. It is believed that the church handbells have also been spared. One stained glass window remains in tact.
The church family is thankful to exhausted firemen and to a community that has been overflowing with kindness.
A trained, veteran photo-journalist, a member of the church, made photographs, not crying, but shaking. The tears came when Carolyn Broughton arrived. His wedding to her in this sanctuary, their childhood church home, was only four weeks away.
A prayer service is planned for Tuesday, June 26, 7:00 PM at the Banks Pavillion to pray for God’s strength in this hour of need after the loss of the Bethany Christian Church Sanctuary. Sunday Services will most likely be held at Camp Caroline. Photos of the fire will be posted soon along with what will be many stories of rebuilding.
Fire Departments from West of New Bern, Township #7 in South New Bern, the City of New Bern Aerial Ladder Truck, Tri-Community (Fairfield Harbor Area), Aurora, and virtually every fire department in Pamlico County, responded.
The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Team responded to aid firemen fighting the massive blaze on a hot summer day.
Cousins and lifelong church members, Annette Hardison Aldridge and Bossey Hardison console one another.
A signal to the day’s end came when firemen began loading the huge hose onto the New Bern aerial ladder truck which helped all afternoon contain the fire and prevent its spread to other church property.
The remains of the base of the church steeple are framed beneath the aerial ladder as a long sad day ended with church members vowing a new day tomorrow.