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FBC Foley loses CLC to fire; sister churches, community offer supportcomment (0)

September 11, 2003

Faulty wiring has been blamed as the cause of the Aug. 28 fire that destroyed the Christian Life Center (CLC) at First Baptist Church, Foley, in Baldwin Association.

The CLC was a freestanding building, so none of the surrounding buildings suffered damage, said First, Foley, pastor Billy Nale. The center housed the church’s gym, kitchen, fellowship hall, preschool area and other classrooms.

A Sunday School appreciation dinner had been held the night before, but no one was in the building at the time of the fire, and no one was injured while fighting the fire whose heat bent the metal support beams in the building.

At press time, a final estimate of damages had yet to be made. Nale said the building was insured for $720,000 and the contents were covered for $40,000, but, “There was much more than $40,000 worth of contents in there,” he said.

Since the fire occurred Nale said he has been amazed at the outpouring of support from other churches and the community.

“Restaurants and local stores have offered us products to use and other local churches have called and offered Sunday School space and the use of their fellowship halls,” Nale said. Montgomery Hill Baptist Church, Stockton, even sent First, Foley, a check for $500.

The support has not been confined to the Baptist denomination either, Nale said. He said local churches from the Lutheran and Independent denominations have also offered help.

“We’re very appreciative,” Nale said. “This shows the unity of the Christian family, and we’re praising the Lord for that.”

He added that while the church will probably make use of an offered fellowship hall for an upcoming women’s event, modular units from the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions will be used to provide Sunday School space.

Plans to rebuild the center are already somewhat in place because a building committee had been formed to look at expanding the center. But as Nale pointed out, the committee now has to look at a totally new building rather than just expanding the old one.

He and First, Foley, secretary Ina Flowers both said they were hopeful the church would come through this crisis better than before.

“The church is very positive right now,” Nale said. “We’re looking forward to the blessings God’s going to bring about as a result, and I think we’ll be stronger spiritually as a result.”

Flowers said, “With the Lord’s help, we’re going to build bigger and better than before.”

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