MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Abyssinian Baptist Church is letting churches whose sanctuaries were damaged by broken water pipes use its building for services.

“On this past Christmas Eve afternoon, I received a call from one of our staff members that there was a leak,” said Bishop Linwood Dillard, pastor of Citadel of Deliverance Church on Hacks Cross Road.

However, Linwood says it was more like a gusher. It was caused by a broken sprinkler pipe and sent water flowing through the sanctuary.

“The pulpit, the altar area, was full of water. It looked like a small pool,” said Linwood.

There was widespread water damage throughout the church’s complex as the water fell from the ceiling. It damaged the kitchen and flooded the church’s family life center and its food pantry.

“And all this on Christmas Eve. The day before Christmas, everyone is preparing and getting ready for the next day,” Linwood said.

This sparked Rev. Earle Fisher, Senior Pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church on Millbranch, to offer his sanctuary, at no charge, to churches that could use space for worship.

“It’s grounded in our compassion for our colleagues, people who do ministry alongside us,” said Fisher.

The pastor says his sanctuary holds up to two hundred people, and it has a sound system available.

He says he knows some congregations are suffering, and he feels this is a “love offering” that will help the faithful continue receiving the word.

“Although Abyssinian does not have a lot of financial capital to share with other congregations, what we do have is real estate and space, and what we have is a commitment to community uplift,” said Fisher.

His offer has already touched the hearts of pastors who are dealing with recovery.

“… unless you’ve been in this position, you really don’t know how it feels to be at a disadvantage of this magnitude,” said Linwood.

Space will be available starting the second Sunday in January for any time other than the first and third Sundays of each month at 10 a.m.

Those interested should email and type “Sanctuary Space” in the subject line.