ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. (March 2, 2014) – Scattered scraps of metal and wood are all that’s left of the Antioch Fellowship Center near Hamilton. This after an electrical fire February 17 swallowed the church and irreplaceable things inside, like a 1959 guitar and a family’s wooden cross.
“We have to start completely all over again,” said Ron Lancaster, Antioch Fellowship Center pastor.
Pastor Lancaster says the church will be rebuilt in about four months thanks to an outpouring of help from their community.
“It’s renewed my faith in the position of the church in America totally. Every denomination out here has called me, pastors who I didn’t even know,” said Lancaster.
To help Antioch continue services, Bentheim Reformed Church, just across the snowy field, opened their doors; Bentheim says this is what Christians do.
“Christian believers serving the same God, fellowshipping one another and God can use a tragedy of this magnitude to draw us closer together; you have to rely on his grace each and every day,” said Randy Schutter, with Bentheim Reformed Church.
Members at Antioch Fellowship’s service spoke out saying this fire found a way to uplift them, just like the congregation says they do for others.
“I have spent a lot of time at the County Jail and I’ve seen people come out of there that we’d bring into our church because they were too embarrassed to go back to their own. We’d bring them into our church and just kind of love on them for a while, and then get them back in their own church. That’s what we really enjoy doing,” explained Lancaster.
Precious things lost left this community stronger.
Lancaster explained that Antioch Fellowship Center is a non-denominational church; the church building was 22-years-old.