Pontotoc MS Church Sanctuary Destoyed By Possible Lightning Strike
(Pontotoc, MS) A lightning strike may have caused a fourth of July fire that destroyed a church in Pontotoc, Mississippi.
Members at Zion Baptist Church say they were just a week away from celebrating its 175th anniversary. But members say their faith is strong.. even without a place to gather for prayer.
Angela Grissom has been a member of Zion Baptist Church all her life,
“It’s just a small country church. Great, great people.”
Thursday, members of Zion Baptist Church in Pontotoc called on their faith and leaned on each after losing their entire sanctuary to fire.
It happened just a few days short of their 175th anniversary.
A fourth of July thunderstorm moved through Union County Wednesday, bringing some unwanted fireworks.
Angela Grissom was at her mother’s house less than a mile away when lightning started to flash,
“We heard a lightning, really loud pop. And we assumed it struck something but we really didn’t give it anymore thought. And then one of my mother’s neighbors called and said, ‘the church was on fire.”
Grissom snapped several pictures of the blaze as it raced out of control.
At least five area fire departments battled the fire and were able to save the church’s Fellowship Hall and a new addition in the rear of the sanctuary.
Pieces of charred wooden pews are reminders of what the church meant to the community and to members like Mary Ann Roye,
“You cannot measure the sorrow that’s felt in people’s heart. You cannot measure it.”
The loss is overwhelming to Deacon Jay Harris,
“I can’t hardly keep from crying.”
While he says the church’s 175th anniversary plans may be on hold right now,
he knows a higher power will work things out, even in the ashes,
“I’m going to always be with you. We know that we don’t have to do this by ourselves. We’ve got the Lord with us.”
No one was hurt in the fire… which is still under investigation.
Church leaders hope they’ll be able to use the Fellowship Hall for their anniversary observances.. which were planned for the weekend of July 14th.