Parishioners move on after fire
MIAMI (WSVN) -- A South Florida congregation is without a place to worship this Christmas after a fire damaged their church. Parishioners didn't let that down their Christmas spirits, however.
A pastor read from the Bible while the parish listened to the words from the holy book. It made for an unusual Christmas night service because it was given in a parking lot. "We're praising the lord outside," said a woman.
The service took place outside the church because on Christmas Eve, flames started in the Pentecostal Church on the 1700 block of West Flagler Street, in Little Havana.
The walls around the alter were left darkened by soot. "The bathrooms and everything are burnt down," said Jeremy Realegeno. Parishioners like Realegeno were not allowed inside their church, so they worshipped where they could. They gladly prayed in the church's parking lot. "We're gonna keep on, and we're gonna make our service the best out here with no light."
At the outdoor service, a flashlight was needed for the pastor to read the scripture. Since the church remains off limits, worshipers brought song and prayer books from home.
It may have not been a usual Christmas, but the congregation remained together and upbeat. A fire destroyed their house of worship, but no inferno could destroy their faith. "We have to praise God," said Realegeno, "and, you know what? Even with the roughest times, we have to keep on forward, and we have to be positive."
The pastor does not know when construction crews will be allowed in to start repair work. Inspectors will be at the strip mall to see if they could figure out what sparked the blaze.
The church holds service seven days a week. The pastors says as long as they cannot enter the church, services will continue outdoors.
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