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Church members hold service after fire

February 20, 2011 3:22:41 PM PST
A fire destroyed an historic church in New Rochelle, but the Interreligious Council came together to find a place for the congregation to worship.

Fire forced them to leave, but faith is giving church members and leaders the strength to rebuild.

"When you hit rock bottom there is only one way to go and that's up. To the top this is not how the story ends," said Michele DePrato, a church member.

Phone calls keep coming from people, organizations and other churches who want to help the 250 member congregation.

Sunday, Trinity-St. Paul Church opened its doors, allowing Union Baptist Church to hold services at noon and a reception Sunday afternoon.

"Words can not begin to express. We had an idea we would have a joyous service but God has a way of going exceedingly and abundantly above what you can ask and think. That's a scripture and a reality. We needed this in the worse way. There's nothing that's impossible," said Pastor Reginald Hudson, of the Union Baptist Church.

While flames engulfed the steeple and collapsed the roof, church members stood across the street holding hands and singing hymns.

It was painful to watch more than 100 firefighters fight the blaze at the historic 99-year-old church.

Students at Monroe College Residence halls and residents at a nearby apartment building were forced to evacuate.

No one was in the church at the time and firefighters have not identified a cause.

Reverend Hudson says while their faith was shaken, it was not crushed.

He vows to rebuild using the strength of this community.

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