Dear Members and Friends of Ann Street Church,
This Sunday our worship services will be held in the Eure Building.
Our sanctuary building has been damaged by fire, but the damage is much less than it could have been. I know there have been some reports about "flames shooting up into the sky at Ann Street," which is what oneTV reporter had heard. Fortunately he contacted me to get the accurate story. There was plenty of smoke, but no flames.
Here's how Friday afternoon unfolded: I was in my office shortly after five; I had been meeting with a couple about a wedding. When I left my office, there was a smell in the air, as if someone were using a fireplace. When I got outside, the smell was no longer there. Fearing that the smell was coming from inside the sanctuary building, I called the fire department.
Shortly after the fire department arrived, firefighters discovered smoke coming from the left-hand wall of the narthex (vestibule). They had to tear out part of that wall, make a hole in the floor, and make a hole into the outside wall of the sanctuary close to the narthex. The Fire Marshal has determined that the fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring. Although the fire had gotten into some beams and although much water was used, the sanctuary itself suffered no water damage, as water went mostly into the basement.
The Beaufort Fire Department, assisted by Morehead City and Atlantic Beach did an outstanding job in discovering, containing, and dousing the fire. They also were careful to do as little damage as possible in getting to the fire. I am indeed grateful for their caring and professionalism.
So here's where we stand. Because it was an electrical fire, electrical service has been cut. At this point it is impossible to know when service might be restored. There is a chance that extensive rewiring might have to be done.
So, for this Sunday at least we will be holding worship services at 8:25 and 11:00 in the Fellowship Hall of the Eure Building. There is a good chance we might not be able to return to our sanctuary for a few weeks, in which case we will continue to worship in the Fellowship Hall.
As we recover and move forward in ministry together, I know I can count on your continued faithfulness. . .and I look forward to seeing you Sunday in the Fellowship Hall as we worship together.
In Christ's Love,
Pastor Eric Lindblade
Yep. Fire. But, as Eric said, a small one, and the fire departments quickly contained it. We could actually worship in the sanctuary, but there's no power. It will probably be pretty chilly Sunday morning.
Fire is scary, especially in an old and historic sanctuary like ours. It can spread quickly, and I'm grateful that it did not, as the oldest bits of our church are more than 156 years old. I am also grateful that Eric was there and noticed the problem before it got out of hand. And I am grateful that our congregation has a place to go this Sunday. We will worship in the fellowship hall, and it will be different. Instead of solid wood pews, we will sit in metal and plastic folding chairs. We will have a piano or keyboard instead of the pipe organ. We will use a tall glass-topped table for an altar, and instead of our brass sanctuary cross, we will use one made for us of wormy dogwood. It will be different...but we will be the same people, worshiping the same God, and giving thanks that the sanctuary we love was spared. Thanks be to God for all our blessings!