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Rising up from the ashes

Two Chilton County churches, Maple Springs Baptist Church and Providence No. 1 Baptist Church both got a crummy start to 2008. Early the morning of Dec. 29, 2007, Maple Springs lost their entire facility to fire. Exactly two weeks later, flames claimed a Providence building that housed Sunday School classes, a fellowship hall and offices.

Both fires were later confirmed arsons, and arrests were made in connection with the Providence fire. The church has since forgiven the perpetrators and have even invited them to join them in worship.

Unfortunately, the Maple Springs fire remains unsolved as no arrests have been made more than a year later.

What is fortunate is that both churches have come a long way since these tragedies. Providence has dedicated a new sanctuary and is using its old sanctuary as a fellowship hall and classrooms. While Maple Springs is not near as far along in the process, they do have signs of life on the site of the old church building.

The metal frame of a building is going up at Maple Springs. This will be the church sanctuary with a fellowship hall and classrooms to follow. Delays mostly due to water problems are what slowed up construction. Moreover, construction will have to take place in phases because the church is limited as to what they can borrow.

The conversion of Providence’s old sanctuary is not yet complete, and they are also making additional classroom space in their old building.

As we begin a new year, we would like to offer a word of encouragement to both congregations. While we would never have wished for these tragedies to happen, perhaps they will lead to great things.

In the end, we hope everyone’s faith is stronger for having endured these difficult times.