Lowndes Co., GA - Church members are making plans to move forward after losing their beloved church to Christmas morning fire. The fire is being investigated as arson. But right now, church members are just focused on rebuilding.
"I was just kind of dumb founded, like I can't believe this is happening," said church member Maria Holt. "But I'm moving on. We're not going to linger with that. We're rebuilding and it's going to be a better and bigger place."
Maria Holt was a dedicated member of the "Ousley Temple Church of God in Christ" before it burned down early Christmas Morning. Now the congregation is planning to rebuild the church in the same spot on Ousley Road in Lowndes County, west of Valdosta.
There is little left of the church, just charred brick and splintered lumber. The Lowndes County Sheriff's Department says they are investigating the fire as an arson until evidence can be found that it came from another source. There's no official word as of yet of what a possible motive might be.
For now, the congregation is holding services down the road in the old building for Redland Baptist Church. They'll be praising there every Sunday till their church is rebuilt. Pastor Curtis Sermons says everything happens for a reason.
"The new church is going to be bigger. It's going to be better. And it's going to have all the things we'll need to do ministry," said Pastor Sermons.
Pastor Sermons says there will be a new kitchen, new classrooms, more office space, even room for as many as 200 people. It's too early to know the cost but they are counting on plenty of donations.
"They can donate their money. Then can donate their time. We'll be happy to accept whatever," said Maria Holt. "We need everything. We have nothing. We salvaged nothing from that church."
"It's all for a new beginning," said Pastor Sermons. "So that we can start here and move forward. Sometimes God does allow things to happen so that you can move forward."
To donate, there is a fund set up through "Bank Of The Ozarks" on West Hill Avenue in Valdosta.
Lowndes Co., GA - Church members are raising money to rebuild their place of worship after losing it to a Christmas Day fire.
They're doing so by setting up a fund at a local bank for the "Ousley Temple Church of God in Christ" on Ousley Road in west Lowndes County.
Investigators are still working to find what started the fire. The sheriff says it may have been arson.
Church members now plan to raise funds so they can rebuild the church in the same place. Donations can be made through "Bank of the Ozarks" on West Hill Avenue in Valdosta.
Lowndes Co., GA - A Lowndes County church burned down early Christmas Morning and now it's being investigated as an arson.
Deputies responded to a 911 call around 1:00 am Tuesday morning that "Ousley Temple Church of God in Christ" was on fire. Now there is little left of the church on Ousley Road in Lowndes County, west of Valdosta except the brick and lumber coated in ash.
"We all had such good times out here and I hate to see it just end like that," said Mattie Larry, a member of the church.
Mattie and Samantha Larry couldn't believe it when they heard the news. The mother and daughter had to see for themselves that their church was gone and investigators say it may have been intentional.
"Who could have an evil heart to do that on Christmas Eve. This is a family church," said Samantha Larry.
The Sheriff says the fire is being treating as an arson until evidence can prove it came from another source. There's no official word as to what a possible motive might be.
But Mattie and Samantha say they don't understand how anyone would want to burn down their beloved church.
"It was very lively," Samantha said. "The choir would have you standing to your feet by their songs. The preacher would have you standing by some of his sermons."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office and can do it anonymously.