God’s Hand and A Burnt Church

It has taken us quite a while to find a church that fit since we moved.  It actually did not happen until last winter.

We were late (as we often are) for a service at a church that did not seem like the right fit.  Thus, instead of going in late, we decided to try a church we previously disregarded as a possibility.

You see, I had read the church’s website messages from its minister when we first moved here and decided it sounded a little too familiar.  It was a small church and there were apparently some issues.

Then, about a year later, I looked at the website after I noticed that the minister had changed, but even the parking lot showed that there were very few people attending.

I wanted a church with children around my daughter’s age if possible, but we needed an active church.  I had been in a struggling church for years, but I was sure we were not being called to one now.

In the meantime, a church at the base of the mountain burned down last August. I did not even know it was there until I heard it on the news.

Ironically, it was located in a neighborhood called St. Elmo and the church had the same name so, it was a St. Elmo fire.  Yes, I think the irony is what caught my attention. . .

Later, I read where they were using other neighborhood churches of different denominations to hold service until they could rebuild.

Then, about a month before we were so late for church, I saw on the sign in front of the small church that it now included the burnt church and another minister.  Thus, we thought to try it when we were so late for the other service.

When we reached the small church, the parking lot was full.  When we entered the church, they warmly greeted us at the door.  We were pleasantly surprised at how everyone got out of their seats and greeted people all around the sanctuary during the greeting portion of the service.

My husband and I really liked the minister and the service.

After we left, we tried to decide whether we should keep attending. As it turned out, these were two churches in transition.  One had a larger congregation and a minister, but no church building.  The other had a small congregation and no minister, but had a church building.  Since the church that had burnt was rebuilding, we did not know how this would work out.

Sure, we liked the minister, but we are United Methodists.  What does that have to do with it you ask?  It means that the minister is pretty much guaranteed to be moved to a different church and I was not sure how long this minister had been here.

In the end, we decided we really liked the people, the minister, and most importantly, it felt like it might be a church home.  We have been going back ever since that fateful day.  In fact, we have decided to join.

It is rather hard for me to say, especially since the church is still mourning their loss, but if the church had not burned down, we may not have found our new church home.

My guess (and my prayer) is that we are not the only ones that had a positive experience as a result of  the devastating fire.

I know that this is the hand of God at work.

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