As he watched an excavator tear into his burned-out church Friday, Bishop George Bennett couldn’t help but raise the corners of his mouth.
The senior pastor of Holy Temple Church of God wasn’t happy, though.
No, he was pensive, but a part of him, he said, was ready for his congregation to start writing its next chapter, ready to see what God might have in store for the church.
“It’s really a bittersweet moment, but I’ve shed my tears,” Bennett said. “It’s one of those things where it’s a nightmare, but when you accept the will of God, you can move on.”
Bennett was one of several who watched the community church, situated at 811 N. 14th St. for the past 87 years, be torn to the ground, just one day after a fire gutted much of its interior.
The cause of the fire likely will never be determined, as Richmond Fire Department investigators could not access the fire’s believed area of origin due to structural issues.
Very little was saved inside the church before its walls began coming down, aside from a few portraits from the fellowship hall of former pastors and church leaders and other photographs from throughout the congregation’s history. The bibles, musical equipment, and even the pulpit were still inside the church when it was razed.
But for Bennett, that’s all just stuff at the end of the day — even if among the images not touched by the fire was one of his mother. He said the most important thing was that nobody was hurt, and that the congregation remains strong in its faith, and it remains together.
SOURCE: Mickey Shuey