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Church meets despite arson

A baptist church in Harlan County opened their doors to a congregation in need of somewhere to worship.

Members of Black Mountain Missionary Baptist Church in Evarts had nowhere to meet after an arson at their church a couple days ago.

"None of us ever thought this would ever happen," said James Clem, the pastor at Black Mountain Missionary Baptist Church.

They carried on with their regular services in a different church which they are thankful for.

"We have to learn to forgive and forget what has happened towards our church," said Pastor Clem.

After the arson on Friday, the members of Black Mountain Missionary Baptist Church felt that they needed to worship together more than ever.

"That church burning up there has brought people together like you wouldn't believe. I mean it's just been wonderful," said Royce Wynn, a member of Black Mountain Missionary Baptist Church and the fire chief at Yocum Creek Fire Department who was on scene.

Their service in Evarts Baptist Church did not feel like home but knowing the building can be rebuilt pushes them on.

"It's just hard when you lose something that important to you, like your church. But as Royce said, we can build back and be stronger than we were before," said Pastor Clem.

Members of the church hope to save the more than 70-year-old building by replacing burned pews and fixing the smoke damage inside.

Pastor Clem plans to carry on as normal until his congregation can get back home.

"That church is just a special place," said Wynn.

State police are continuing to investigate the arson and are not yet releasing the suspect's name.


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