LaFollette church members hold first service after fire

LaFollette church members hold first service after fire


LAFOLLETTE (WATE) - Members of a Campbell County church held their first service Sunday after the building was set on fire.  

Fincastle Church of God in LaFollette burned to the ground last Sunday morning. Officials said Thursday the fire was intentionally set.

Several members of the Fincastle Church of God packed the Campbell County Christian Academy gym for the congregation's first service since the arson.

The support was overwhelming for church leaders.

"It makes you feel good as a pastor to see that happen, because that's the whole thing, the  church that's burned is not the Fincastle of Church of God, the people in church is the church," said Rev. Mike Smith.

Some church members at Sunday's service said they saw the church burning.

"It really broke my heart to see the church destroyed. It felt like a part of me is gone. I've only been here for a month at Fincastle, and they treat me so wonderful, but it feels like a part of our heart is gone" said Deborah Ratliff, of Caryville.

Police have not yet to released a motive or named any suspects in the case.

The church remains a crime scene as the investigation is on-going.

There has been a recent stint of vandals at area churches, but many parishioners wondered how and why this happened at Fincastle.

"Somebody for whatever reason, whatever cause, we don't know of anyone that would want to harm our building or harm us," Smith said.

The Christian Academy will be the site for Fincastle church services next week and for the foreseeable future.

Church members plan to rebuild and continue their mission.

"We will build back, eventually we will be back in the church, and be back in the building as soon as we can," Smith said.

"We know that everything is going to come together, one way or another, and we'll stick together. It's a good place to go to church," said Bill Floyd, a Fincastle member for six years.

A community trust fund has been set up for the church at the Community Trust Bank in Jacksboro. Anyone interested in giving can contact Suzie at the bank by calling (423) 566-7847.

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