DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas church is moving its services to a Duncanville hotel this weekend after a fire so devastating the structure had to be demolished.
” Uh, uh, uh…nothing left. This is what you call a disaster,” said Kenneth Andrews, Sr., the senior pastor at Deliverance Missionary Baptist Church on Ann Arbor Street in East Oak Cliff.
As he walked through the rubble he poured over 20 years worth of memories, twelve of them as senior pastor. A drum set was salvageable; an organ was not. There’s little left after an early morning fire.
Pastor Andrews was phoned about 5 am from one of the homeless people his church serves. The blaze was so severe and the structure so weakened that Dallas Fire Rescue ordered it demolished for safety’s sake. “It hits me bad, it hurts to know that I can’t come here any more, just to come in the building,” Andrews said.
Shocked parishoners hugged each other as the walls came tumbling down. One of them was Millie Poe. “There’s a lot of memories here at this church,” she said adding, “I would never have pictured that the church would be torn down like this.
Another worshipper, Lanita Graham, said the church saved her at a low point in her life nine months ago. “I have four kids. Ran out of gas; we was sick with pneumonia.” But she found Deliverance. Literally. The church. “My life has changed, I came my way back, my kids’ doing better; I’m doing better.”
Fire investigators haven’t settled on a cause for the blaze. Pastor Andrews says there was no power to the church at the time so he doubts the cause is electrical. But it services and missions will go on.
“They took our church but they didn’t take our faith,” said Graham. “The church is going to continue to go on, just in a different place.”
“We are having church Sunday,” added Pastor Andrews. “Because the church is not the building, the church is wherever you’re taking your heart.”
Andrews said Sunday’s service will be at the Hilton Gardens Hotel in Duncanville, Main Street at Camp Wisdom Road. He is still looking for a full-time space and would be glad to hear from anyone volunteering a location. His cell phone is 972.743.5296.
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