This morning I woke up around 8:30 or so and walked out to the living room where the news was on the tv. I walked out sleepily just in time to see the image of the flaming spire of a church which had recently been struck by lightning. Shocking an image as it was by itself, I quickly realized that that lightning bolt had struck the very church my family went to when I was growing up.
I quickly called my mom, now home during the day since she retired on June 30th. Needless to say she was upset and had wondered if anything local had been struck during the intense thunderstorms this morning. She ended up going down to the church after we talked. It was so strange that I knew about the fire before she had, since she is less than a 5 minute drive from it.
Anyway, what is the most important thing is that no one was hurt. There wasn't anyone at the church at the time. So, while the steeple is pretty much a loss and the back portion of the sanctuary has extensive water damage and a collapsed ceiling, everyone is fine and things will be okay. I received several emails and messages today about the fire and there was one a great quote from them I wanted to share:
“Our building is damaged, the church is fine. Praise the Lord!”Instead of focusing on the negative, the person who shared this was just thankful that the church (as in the body of members) was intact. It's thinking like that that makes great things happen.
Oddly enough this kind of thing has happened to the church before. Since it was built in 1814, it has had three steeple incidents including this one. During a hurricane in 1938 the steeple fell off the top of the church, went through the roof and slammed into the floor of the sanctuary (you can see pic here if you scroll down and look at the bottom left picture). What's really neat is that you can still see where the top of the steeple hit the floor because it didn't break through the floorboards. To this day there is a layer of wood missing in the floor where it hit. Mom and I tended to sit near there and it always fascinated me that that scar was left there instead of just replacing those boards to rid people of the memory. I distinctly remember running my shoe over the obviously splintered dent where a centimeter or so of wood was gauged out depth-wise. The other event was when the steeple was hit by lightning in 1959. I couldn't find too much info on that lightning strike, but I think I'll look into it more in the future.
If you want to read more about the fire you can check out the news story from Channel 4 which has comments from people who live nearby or you can see a video done by them as well. Channel 5 did a good job and interviewed some of the church members that I know. You can see their news story here, but I don't think their video is up yet. I'll post that one when it becomes available.