Church members gather to worship for the first time after fire

Madisonville (WVLT) - The congregation who lost their worshipping place earlier this week to a fire met for the first time Wednesday night.

The nearly 100-year-old First United Methodist Church in Madisonville was destroyed by fire on Monday, leaving 350 church members wondering where they'll gather to worship.

Wednesday night, they gathered at Hiwassee College for Wednesday night services. Church leaders say they couldn't of made it this far without the support from the community.

Two nights ago this was the scene in Madisonville as flames destroyed the historic church.

"Oh man, what do we do now was the first question I asked myself," church member Steve Tweed said.

Wednesday, church members ate dinner, sang songs, and talked about the fire.

"I'm here to help people understand just because the structure burned, we haven't lost our identity or memory," Pastor Braxton Cotton said.

The congregation has pulled together and the community has lent a helping hand.

"We cant' stress enough prayers and concern of community that has drawn us through this. All we can say is thank you and keep the prayers going," Cotton said.

Church members are amazed by the outpouring of love and support.

"Contada books all burned up and the Presbyterian Church said they would reorder for the Christmas program," Tweed said.

Even with their house of worship gone, that hasn't dampened the congregation's spirits.

"God is going to do something amazing, incredible, and when it happens, it's going to be amazing," Cotton said.

An optimistic outlook after such a devastating week.

Pastor Braxton says they will rebuild the church on the same property. Church leaders hope to know Thursday whether they'll worship at the Senior Center across the street on Sunday.

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