GASTONIA, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – One could call it a case of good luck, but members of one congregation in Gastonia said that getting a new building for their church, after a fire, is nothing short of divine providence.
Gastonia church erupts in flames hours after Christmas Day service
“The Place” Church, originally located off York Highway, caught fire Christmas Day, hours after holiday services. Fire investigators have said that the cause of the blaze may never be known due to how far gone the building was. Remnants of the building sit in a fenced-in area along the highway, which shows the building essentially gutted and burned to the ground.
Pastor Ron Duncan, though, said that fire prompted a phone conversation with an outgoing pastor at another church in December–one that resulted in their new location.
“The pastor that was pastoring [Chapel Grove Church of God], had been pastor for seven years, and they had been through some struggles and couldn’t support itself financially,” said Duncan. “He said, ‘This is a great opportunity. You had a disaster and we’re in a dilemma, as well.”
The Place used the Chapel Grove space shortly after the fire, never missing a service. Duncan said that eventually led to discussions and taking in the Chapel Grove congregation.
The new space is bigger than The Place and is just over two miles from their York Highway location. It includes more parking space, a gymnasium, and a larger sanctuary. Duncan noted that his congregation was in a tighter space in their old building.
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“We’re trying to hold on and stay strong,” said Duncan of the events over the last month. “We’re just celebrating.”
As for the church’s future, Duncan is optimistic.
“God’s got His hand on this, and His favor on us, and we got great things ahead,” he said.