Florida Congregation Worships in Shadow of Ashes

Source: Baptist Press

Seat against the backdrop of burnt pews, a collapsing roof, and scorched carpet, the sign outside of Main Street Baptist Church in Bartow, Florida defiantly reads, “God is Still God and God is Still Good.”

The victim of arson, Main Street Baptist Church has already begun its road to recovery, raising funds to build a new sanctuary and praying for members of the congregation and community suffering associated mental trauma stemming from the arson.

To some, the survival of the church’s sign is more than just a mere coincidence but seemingly a testament to God’s grace. Adam Mayfield, the Pastor of Main Street Baptist Church, said, “Exactly three years ago from the day of the fire, I preached a sermon talking about adversity. In that sermon, I said ‘God is still God and God is still good,’ so we plan to keep that on our sign.”

Main Street Baptist nestled in the heart of downtown Bartow averages a weekly worship attendance of approximately 125 persons. Founded in 1938, the congregation grew out of families meeting in a pole barn, who gathered for worship regularly before formally organizing itself into a congregation.

The fire began in the congregation’s main building in the early morning hours of Sunday, March 13, destroying the historic sanctuary built in 1947. To contain the fire, firefighters and other first responders used so much water the basement was eventually flooded resulting in further damage.

Praising the local firefighters, Mayfield said containing the fire at the main building was paramount and the decisions of the fire crews helped save the remainder of the church’s campus.

Lost in the fire were sanctuary furnishing, basement storage, and newly upgraded worship space and equipment.

“It looked like a war zone,” Pastor Mayfield said.  

When visited by Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, he pledged, “We will do whatever you need, including paying the deductible. Just tell us what you need.”

When asked by a local media affiliate how others can help, Mayfield responded, “We need prayer…We would not want to walk through this without prayer.”

Source: Baptist Press