The Brownfield Church of Christ went up in flames one month ago. The congregation of onlookers were shocked, to watch their church built back in 1947 crumble to the ground.
"I just saw a small fire in one part of the building and I just thought the fire department would find it and put it out. I didn't get anything out of my office, I didn't think I needed to. And by the time we realized this is a serious fire it was too late to go back and get anything out. Then it was just sitting watching it and hardly believing that it was happening," said Derek McNamara, Church Minister.
But according to Minister McNamara what was happening was all too real. "In one small area there was a little bit left, but almost everywhere else it was almost like those old Hollywood movie sets where you see a fake front and nothing behind, that's what it was like, nothing inside," McNamara said.
But now where rubble once stood as a painful reminder to many of their lost memories inside, a slab for new growth is cleared so the rebuilding can begin. "Next week some of the elders will be meeting with an architect and that'll be the first stage, selecting one and going through the design of the building. And I think that will be the longest stage and then once that design is finalized," McNamara says.
So far through the generosity of the community and area churches, this congregation of almost 400 has received some $50,000 in donations, a start toward a long journey of rebuilding. "It's probably best described as a death and a burial, the building standing up was a shock, it stood there for two or three weeks, and now it's gone. I can see god using this event to bring us closer together," says McNamara.
For now they will continue to meet together in the Family Life Center, until the rubble is replaced with new life. They expect the rebuilding to take up to two years so the church will use temporary buildings for their office needs and small group meetings.
At this time there is still no word on the cause of the fire, the investigation continues.