Authorities in Spalding County say lightning could be the cause of a fire that destroyed a church on Wednesday morning.
Officials say the fire at New Salem Road Baptist Church on New Salem Road broke out at around 4 a.m. Fire crews say the church was fully involved when firefighters arrived at the scene.
Members of the Vaughn community church say there are about 150 members. The church has been in the community since the 1880s. The building dated back to the 1950s, members said.
"There is a lot of history here. My two sons were baptized here. A lot of memories made here," said Robert Roper, a church deacon.
The church had last held a service on Christmas Eve.
"It was quite wonderful to be totally honest with you….I was actually thinking about passing up and going to my family's earlier. But God blessed me and I showed up. I didn't miss it," said David Fastnacht, a church member.
The area is no stranger to weather damage. In April of 2011, a tornado outbreak took several homes and buildings in the community, including Vaughn United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Sandra Fendley, the pastor of Vaughn Methodist Church, said that New Salem Baptist Church helped their congregation after that disaster. New Salem allowed Vaughn United Methodist Church members to use one of its buildings for services. Now, Fendley said that her church is ready to repay the favor.
"They have taken care of us, they've given us money. They've looked after us completely," said Fendley.
Vaughn United Methodist Church is set to reopen soon and Fendley has offered her sanctuary to help New Salem's congregation.
"We better learn to work together; we're going to be in Heaven together," Fendley said.
No one was injured in the blaze. Church members say they will rebuild. Investigators are still working to determine the exact cause of the fire.
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