Church Members in Disbelief Over Fire

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

May 5, 2006

A number of people from the Church of Christ's congregation went back to the scene to get a final look at the devastation. For one Charlottesville firefighter, it hit home.

"My first thought [was] 'Is this the right address? Is this the right church?'" said Lance Blakey.

Blakey is one of the firefighters who responded to the blaze at the Church of Christ Thursday evening. As he combed through what's left, he remembers worshiping there every Sunday since he was eight years old.

"We just worshiped here last Sunday, and just to come back this morning and the church is gone, it's just unbelievable," said Blakey.

Bishop Rufus Hayes and his members built the church from the ground up 17 years ago. One member said the church is a lot more than brick and mortar.

"It hurts to see it this way, especially knowing what went in to getting it [built]," said Ric Howard.

The Bishop's wife, Betty Hayes, said although part of the church is gone, the memories made will live on.

"There has been a lot of good memories here and we've enjoyed every bit of it. We're working for the Lord and we're not tired yet," said Betty Hayes.

The Bishop said faith is what brought them here and faith will keep them going.

"The Lord willing, we hope to have it built as soon as we get it cleaned up and cleared out," said Rufus Hayes.

Church services this Sunday will be held at Buford Middle School. Sunday school will be at 10 a.m., and services will begin between 11:30 and noon.

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