Campbell Co. church celebrates first Easter since arsonist burne

Campbell Co. church celebrates first Easter since arsonist burned down sanctuary

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For the LaFollette congregation, this Easter Sunday is all about counting their many blessings, thankful they are still able to worship together. For the LaFollette congregation, this Easter Sunday is all about counting their many blessings, thankful they are still able to worship together.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

LAFOLLETTE (WATE) - Churches all across East Tennessee held Easter services on Sunday, but for one church in Campbell County, celebrating the holiday together means a lot more this year.

It's the first Easter since an arsonist burned down Fincastle Church of God back in December 2012.

For the LaFollette congregation, this Easter Sunday is all about counting their many blessings, thankful they are still able to worship together.

"Easter Sunday is a wonderful time for any child of God. That's the whole point of Easter today is that we have a risen Savior," said Reverend Mike Smith.

"To be with my church family, it thrills me," said LaVonne Meade, a member of Fincastle for more than 20 years.

It was just under four months ago a fire destroyed their decades-old sanctuary building, ruled arson by authorities.

But they haven't let the loss get them down or tear them apart.

"The worry a pastor always has when something like this happens is that people start scattering. In this case, we've had no one scatter. If anything, we've had more to come," said Smith.

"We are the church. The building burned, but we are the church," said Meade.

This year's Easter service was held in their smaller fellowship hall building, which sits next door to the site of the burned down church, where a new one is currently being built.

The new building is more than halfway finished, set to be complete by June or July, and members are getting anxious to see it come to completion.

"It's very important for me to be in God's house," said Meade.

"Every nail that's put in that building, that's one nail closer," said member Lorine Goins of LaFollette.

Fincastle Church of God is accepting donations to help cover the cost of the new building.

Campbell County authorities are still searching for the arsonist.

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