Lightning destroys church, not members' spirit

WILSON COUNTY Every third Wednesday of the month, families within the church hold a potluck dinner in the fellowship hall --the same hall is now their only building.

"We're not going to let a little thing like a fire stop us." church member Diane Boykin said.

"We're already a close-knit church, but I think this is going to make us stronger," Deacon Chairman Larry Boyette said.

About half of Nobles Chapel's more than 100 members met in the church's only building Wednesday to break bread and reflect about what to do next.

"We're going to form a committee tonight, building committee and get started on plans," Boyette said."It's going to take us a while, but we're going to go at it slow."

Slow is the pace at which the 110-year-old church established its history. But parts of that history and the sanctuary that housed it quickly faded in flames when lightning struck the steeple on Sunday night.

Diana Coley, a neighbor and member, says she saw it happen right in front of her.

"While we were watching the church burn down, there was the most beautiful rainbow, that says the, Lord says, 'I'm here and I've got it under control,'" she said.

Members were able to salvage some pews, a Bible as old as the church, and a scrapbook chronicling the years.

"Just brings back a lot of good memories, but sad at the same time." said Ann Boyette, a church member for 28 years.

But for 94-year-old Charles Boykin, who's attended the church his whole life, only one hope is needed.

"Hope we still keep our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord," he said.

The Chairman of the Deacons tells ABC11 that the response from fellow churches from Wilson County to Raleigh and Henderson has been overwhelming. Their insurance company and builders have also contacted them.

Demolition on the burned down church could start as soon as next week.

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