Fire destroys Ottawa Co. church sanctuary

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OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Dozens of crews batteled a fire at an Ottawa County church Friday morning.

Calls came into Ottawa County Dispatch of fire coming from the steeple at Faith United Reformed Church on 120th Avenue between Polk Street and Croswell Street at about 8:45am.  Dispatch tells FOX 17 that 120th is closed at Polk.

Reverend Matt Nuiver, the church pastor explained, "People have been baptized here. People have been married here. People have had funerals here. Those connections are all there, and they're very important. So we don't to minimize that, but at the same time, the church is the people and certainly we're thankful for the ways we're going to be able to rally around each other together."

 Elder Arlan Rouwhorst, the church custodian said, "I know the people in this church, and it's a bump in the road. God has been so faithful to this congregation and will continue to be. I know that beyond a doubt."

The sanctuary was destroyed and the fellowship hall suffered smoke damage. The church is exploring other options for services this weekend.

A nearby resident says they saw smoke and thought it might have been coming from a field fire, but then saw smoke coming from the steeple.

 "I know we'll get through this and I know the power of prayer and I am confident that we'll overcome this." Rouwhorst said. "There's bigger things at the end of the day and we trust what God puts in front of us and what His will is for our live and this is something we'll get through. I'm confident we will. I know the people here and I know their heart is for the church.  It will bring everyone closer together yet."

The Olive Township fire chief says the fire does not appear to be suspicious in nature.  They are still investigating.

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