A local church that burned nearly two years ago, is finally being rebuilt.
Trinity Missionary Baptist Temple Church was completely destroyed when a lightning strike hit the church on June 4, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. The lightning caused a spark that soon erupted into a raging fire despite a falling rainstorm.
Church Pastor Lucile W. Smiley-Bomar and a parishioner were inside the church when the storm passed through and the fire began.
Last week, standing amid the ruins of the church, Pastor Smiley-Bomar still recalled how it all started. She remembered hearing the lightning strike the building.
“Don’t tell me it hit the computer again?” she remembered saying. Minutes later, Smiley-Bomar said she smelled something burning and heard a loud pop. She and her parishioner went to investigate. The parishioner went down the hallway while Smiley-Bomar went into the sanctuary. As Smiley-Bomar crossed the sanctuary, she glanced up and saw that the ceiling was on fire. She then began to scream “fire” as she and the parishioner made it safely out the building.
As firefighters converged on the scene and battled the blaze, the rain kept falling but the flames kept growing. At one point first responders had to move back as the entire roof collapsed and the building’s façade crumbled in flames to the ground.
With nothing left but the concrete foundation and a few walls, the church building was declared a total loss.
“We had insurance but there was a process in receiving the funds and there is still a process in getting all the funds needed to rebuild the church,” Smiley-Bomar said last week as a few parishioners gathered for a final prayer session inside the church ruins. “But we have some funds where we can get started.”
Smiley-Bomar said they are still raising funds to complete the church and cover the costs that the insurance doesn’t. She said they’ve had several hurdles to clear to include having to tear down what remained of the church because of revised floodplain maps. This meant the old church needed to be torn down so they could elevate the foundation by nine inches.
The Pastor added they needed to downsize the new church, “Because the cost of everything from this church being built 30 years ago to right now, has changed drastically,” Smiley-Bomar said.
Before the bulldozers arrived last week, those that gathered at their former House of Worship sang hymns and prayed.
“I didn’t lose faith and I knew we were going to rebuild again,” the Pastor said.
But when the crews arrived and the demolition began Smiley-Bomar said it was like losing the building all over again.
“It is still a loss,” she said. “We had 30 years of ministry here at Trinity and today it is final and it is gone. It’s a great loss, a hurt, a pain and yet we are going to be comforted because we are going to get a new building and that is going to be a blessing.”
She got a bit emotional as the walls fell and the dirt was lifted.
“Even though the fire destroyed everything we still had the structure,” she said. “It was still there. It was something we still had to hold on to and now it’s gone. But all is well.”
But as always she places all her trust in God.
“You seek His face and I just believe He is going to realign our lives,” she said. “He is going to restore us and He is going to replenish us because we walk by faith and not by sight and we are going to praise him.
She isn’t sure just how long the rebuilding process will take, but knows God will have it done in His own time.
Folks willing to help can send donations to:
Trinity M.B. Temple
P.O. Box 7
Hinesville, Ga. 31310
Or through Cash app: $Trinity TMBT