South Wichita church forced to move after fire destroys building
Black soot, burnt chairs, and a few songbooks and bibles are all that's left inside Nu heart-Nu start ministries in south Wichita.
It was not the scene church pastor Larcena Gilmore-Williams, was expecting when she first got the message something was wrong. "I got a text from Cox communication, which is my alarm carrier here, security, and that it was breaking in the west door basement door."
Wichita firefighters responded to the church Monday morning around 2:30 and Gilmore-Williams arrived late.
In the hours since she's surveyed the damage caused by the fire and says "It's total devastation."
A loss like this could be discouraging for many people, but Gilmore-Williams says she and her congregation are more focused on counting their blessings.
"I could become quite frustrated with it but at the same time, when I look back, and I think, you know, 'I tell them, you know, we got to pull the good out of the bad, and we didn't lose any lives. This is just stuff and again, it can be replaced.'"
She says her congregation has been renting its building from the church next door. As of now, she and her members will move to the other church building for services while they figure out a new home. "Even if we meet in houses, it doesn't matter."
Gilmore-Williams believes this fire will be an experience for her and her congregation to grow. "When you've been overcome by a storm, never look at the storm, look beyond the storm because when storms come into your life, they come for one or two reasons. They either come to make you stronger, or the storm would devastate you but you get to choose which one it is."
Wichita Fire is still looking into what caused the incident.