MOUNT VERNON — The congregation of the Victory Church of Christ, 12470 Upper Fredericktown Road, is faring well after the loss of much of its church building in a Jan. 15 fire, said the pastor, Evangelist Carl Snelling.
“We’ll be meeting at the Holiday Inn Express for three more weeks,” said Snelling.
The church has reserved the motel’s conference room for two hours on Sunday mornings, beginning at 10, for worship services. For now, Sunday School classes are not being held.
On the Sunday following the Thursday fire, the congregation held its first worship service at the motel.
“We thought it was important to get everybody together as soon as possible,” Snelling said.
His congregation is handling its loss well, he said, despite that several of the members had helped with the construction of the 1981 building and, therefore, had an emotional investment in the structure. Other members have experienced fires in their own homes.
As for plans to reconstruct the church building, Snelling said nothing was firm as yet.
“We’re waiting for information from the insurance company,” he said. “Cleanup and demolition are being handled by the insurance company and the people they bring in. Different ones [from the congregation] are coming in to see what’s salvageable, but as far as hands-on work, we can’t do anything yet.”
Classrooms are being gutted, a professional company is cleaning the smoke smell from the pastor’s books, ruined items are being thrown away and a crew is cleaning debris from the auditorium.
“They want to get down to the auditorium floor to see if it’s salvageable,” Snelling said.
The congregation, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2005, is hoping the church building can be renovated but, if not, the congregation would prefer to rebuild on the Upper Fredericktown Road site rather than build elsewhere.
“I don’t think anybody wants to do that,” said Snelling, who has led the congregation for the past 10 years.