A church is made of its people, not the four walls of its sanctuary.
That's the message those who attend Friendly Church of God in Christ are reminding themselves just days after their historic building burned to the ground.
Now the congregation from the southern Falls County community of Reagan will worship in Robertson County, trying to move past what they believe was a hate crime.
Members of the church spent Saturday afternoon cleaning up a borrowed building in Bremond to meet and worship Sunday morning. They worked cheerfully, praising God, and praying for whoever burned down their 80-year-old church building Tuesday.
Investigators from the state fire marshal's office and the ATF have determined the fire in Reagan was arson.
"They ruled it arson after the heat and after the incident on the 19th," Pastor Philip Dickerson said.
Less than a month ago, Dickerson says someone tried to burn down his church on Martin Luther King Jr Day, pouring gasoline on the carpet and setting a fire.
The predominately black church has suffered several break-ins over the last three years, some with messages of profanity left behind.
It's all enough to lead some of its members to think this arson was a hate crime.
"Race might have played an issue, that it happened before on MLK's Birthday, and then now this happens while Obama is trying to sign the stimulus package off," Deacon Edward Wallace said.
Despite that horrible thought, they say they won't let it steal their hope or stop them from singing praises come Sunday.
"It'll help to lift our spirits," Dickerson said. "And the fire didn't stop us, and so we are ready to come and praise God."
The pastor says a building is only the place they meet. The church is the people, and that church meets Sunday morning in another building down the road in Bremond.
Currently, there are no suspects in the arson investigation.
For now, the church will be using furniture, equipment and a building on the corner of Clay and Main Streets lent by other churches in the area.
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