Church struck by arson has new home

Published 10:41 pm Friday, August 21, 2009

Dec. 29, 2007 began a difficult chapter in the history of Maple Springs Baptist Church. Early that morning, flames engulfed the place of worship, destroying the structure and many treasures inside.

To make things worse, the fire was later confirmed arson.

But on Sunday, Aug. 16, the church started writing its next chapter. For the first time, members gathered on a Sunday morning to worship in their new facility — which stands, almost literally, on the ashes of the old one.

“People have been real good to give,” the Rev. Roland Davis, church pastor, said. “We’ve had a lot of help from the community, not only in donations but also people coming out here to work.”

Another work day will be held this Saturday. The next tasks will be to hang doors, paint the sanctuary, refinish pews, and complete the fellowship hall and educational areas.

Other projects, such as flooring and brickwork, may have to wait until the funding becomes available. But Davis says that will come in God’s timing.

“When they built the first tabernacle under the leadership of Moses, they brought so much material that Moses had to restrain them from giving,” Davis said. “That’s what we’re depending on the Lord to do.”

While the church has received thousands in donations, they are still in need of items such as tables and chairs for classrooms. They were able to purchase a piano and several doors for a reduced price because the companies were going out of business.

“Little things add up,” Davis said.

Regardless of the details, the church has moved in. This became official Aug. 11, as the funeral of Maple Springs’ oldest member, Mary Ray, was held in the new sanctuary. Ray, who died just 17 days short of her 98th birthday, had been determined to attend the first service.

Davis thought it fitting that the first service pay tribute to Ray’s life.

“I thought that was very good,” he said.

A fund is set up at Regions Bank under the name Maple Springs Baptist Church New Start for anyone who wishes to donate.

No arrests have been made in the arson case.