Pastor, parishioners preach message of hope hours after church burns down

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — It had only been a few hours since the members of Centenary United Methodist Church learned the devastating news that their place of worship was now nothing but ashes when the church’s pastor preached a message of hope.

Speaking at a service held at Centenary’s sister church Bethia United Methodist Church, Pastor Pennie Foy asked members to share their feelings.

“I see great things, nothing but great things for us,” said one parishioner.

“God’s going to use this. I just know it by listening to you tonight,” said another.

Among them was member Ken Drahms who said the service reminded him of when the church supported him years ago during his greatest time of need.

“When I had open heart surgery like five years ago I had two weeks to live basically and I felt the prayers,” said Drahms. “I mean, I got better, and better, and better fast and it just meant the world to me.”

For Drahms and many in the congregation, Monday night was about healing, which is why Bethia’s pastor says they opened their doors.

“We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t the last statement made, but rather a worship service would be for this day,” said Pastor Jay Carey with Bethia United Methodist Church.

By the end of the night, what had been tears and sorrow hours earlier, were now smiles and gratitude for one another.

“Even though this has been a tragedy, it feels like new life, it feels like there’s going to be something great coming from this,” said Drahms.

Centenary will hold their service at Bethia this Sunday. Pastor Foy says many in the community have offered to open their doors so the church can hold services there as they rebuild.

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