According to a deacon at Bannertown Baptist Church, work is under way to have the church ready to hold worship services, hopefully by spring.
Deacon Sam Holder said since a fire destroyed one sanctuary and damaged another at the facility more than a month ago, the church’s congregation has been holding worship services at Fountain of Life Baptist Church.
In the evening hours of Nov. 8 a youth pastor and his wife spotted smoke coming from the old sanctuary. Though fire department personnel arrived within minutes, Mount Airy Fire Chief Zane Poindexter said the fire had made its way into the attic of the building.
Billowing smoke soon turned to huge flames, and the building was engulfed. Poindexter said fire department personnel made an “aggressive attack” at the fire, but the location of the fire made fighting it too dangerous.
Poindexter said his department shifted its efforts to containing the fire to the old sanctuary building, which is attached to the newer portion of the church by an enclosed breezeway.
Despite the fact that Bible study and other programs were taking place in the church at the time of the blaze, nobody was injured.
At night’s end, the old sanctuary was completely destroyed. Additionally, smoke had damaged the interior of the remainder of the church. At the time, Holder said carpet and other upholstery would have to be replaced and walls would need to be repainted. He warned the process could be a long one, lasting at least six to eight weeks.
Holder said the six-week estimate may have been a little hopeful in nature. He said work to replace pews, carpet, sheet-rock and the sound system began just recently. That stated, he said the work is in a “full-bore” phase of operations.
Holder said initially things got off to a slow start, and now the church’s members are looking at being back in their facility around March or April.
According to Holder, the old sanctuary building will be demolished as soon as the church’s insurance company finalizes all paperwork. He said the tragedy of the fire has obviously expedited new building plans for the church.
“We were already cramped for space (before the fire),” explained Holder. “The fire furthered the need for additional facilities.”
Holder said once the building is demolished and the congregation has returned to its home in the new sanctuary building, efforts will focus on a new building. He said the church is accepting donations to help it in its endeavor.
“A number of groups within the church are coming up with fundraising plans,” said Holder. “They are planning events like an auction and a large yard sale.”
According to Holder, the church already has plans to host a barbecue fundraiser on Jan. 15.
Additionally, Holder said monetary donations can be sent to Bannertown Baptist Church, ATTN: Building Fund, 1834 Westfield Road, Mount Airy, NC 27030.
Those interested in the barbecue fundraiser or donating can also call the church office at (336) 786-5407 or visit the church’s website at www.bannertownbaptisitchurch.org.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.