'Don't want to get emotional.' Fayetteville church marches on after schoolhouse destroyed by fire

Monique John Image
Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Fire destroys Fayetteville church's schoolhouse
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New Life Bible Church in Fayetteville stands strong in the face of a disaster after the private school was destroyed by fire on New Year's Eve.

"I'm not praising God because he burned down the building. That would be foolish. But I do praise God in the fact that he is blessing me even though the building burned."

A Fayetteville church stands strong in the face of a disaster. The church's private school went down in flames on New Year's Eve, destroying school supplies and equipment worth thousands of dollars.

The fire happened at the New Life Bible Church's campus on Hoke Loop Road. Pastor Allen McLauchlin said seeing the fire Saturday morning sent him and his wife into shock.

"I don't like to stare too long," said McLauchlin. "I don't want to get emotional."

The building was a labor of love, built by the congregation in the 80s. It was later converted into a schoolhouse in the 90s; thousands of dollars worth of iPads, laptops, textbooks, and other school supplies went down with it in the blaze.

It's unknown what caused the fire. Fayetteville's fire department says an investigation is ongoing. For the time being, the pastor says the church's private school with a few dozen students will go back to class in another building next week.

"Whether we rebuild today, or next week, or three months from now, we are still going to educate all the kids that are enrolled in the school," McLauchlin said.

Even though he's mourning the fire's destruction, the pastor says he's leaning on his faith to keep his spirits up.

"You don't thank God for everything, but you do thank God in everything. I'm not praising God because he burned down the building. That would be foolish. But I do praise God in the fact that he is blessing me even though the building burned."

Anyone who wants to help can donate at the New Life Bible Church website.