Foundation In Faith

The walls of the new First Church of God on Falconer Street in Jamestown were erected on Tuesday. The church was destroyed in a fire last year, though service has continued at a next door residence. P-J photo by Katrina Fuller

Almost one year after a fire gutted the church, the First Church of God congregation is seeing walls erected and foundations standing firm.

The Rev. Mervin Lee said all the flooring and foundations has been poured and the walls were put up on Tuesday. The walls were prefabricated in Pennsylvania and were brought to the worksite, he said.

A structure fire at the 291 Falconer St. church in Jamestown was reported on Dec. 26, 2016, at about 2 a.m. Smoke was seen coming from the back of the building, and afterward, a fire broke out which then engulfed the entire church.

Since that time, the construction has moved steadily. Lee said the congregation has stayed positive throughout the rebuilding process.

“Everybody is excited,” he said. “People are trusting God and seeing God move. There’s a new spirit of excitement.”

The remnants of the First Church of God on Dec. 26, 2016, following a devastating fire. A new church is being built in its place. P-J file photo

Lee said he believed the loss of the church signified an opportunity to take the church in a new direction. He said there “wasn’t a better way for God to get the point across” than for the church to start over again.

“There’s a scripture that says, ‘I will do a work in your days that you would not believe if I had told you,'” Lee said.

“So we’re standing on that,” he continued.

The tentative timeline is to have the church open by May or June, but Lee said the church has not yet missed a Sunday service due to having a nearby, separate location. The church is currently meeting in at 277 Falconer St., a green-colored house next to the construction site in the bottom apartment. The church owns the house, which holds two apartments, and at the time of the fire, the tenant in the lower apartment said she would move upstairs so the church could meet downstairs.

Lee said ever since the fire, the church has met in the bottom apartment and hasn’t skipped a beat.

“If anyone needs a church, we have 9:45 a.m. Sunday School, service at 11 a .m. and we have a prayer meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays,” he said. “When the time comes, we’ll let the public know we’re open. Come check us out.”

The church also maintains a Facebook page to keep the public and church members updated with the progress. To follow the project, find them on Facebook under “First Church of God.”