Prayers for after Church Fires

Many years ago, the day after Christmas, I received the phone call that no pastor or church member wants to receive – “The church caught fire last night”.

Fortunately for us at First Presbyterian Church, only the sanctuary chancel burned. We did have forced air heating so there was significant smoke damage throughout the building. It took many months to rebuild and clean up.

We were out of our sanctuary for months. The congregation was devastated to view the loss of the sanctuary interior. Our routine was up turned. The property team was dazed and stunned.  As the pastor I was overwhelmed and exhausted.  It was difficult and stressful for me and the whole congregation to put the sanctuary back together along with all the other things that go on in the church.

Recovering from a church property disaster is tough and taxing. You know in your heart it is just a building and it can be rebuilt. It is not that simple. Memories and stories are attached to the church building. Creative decisions and conversations need to happen in the midst of the trauma.

I tell you all this so that we can have perspective for our prayers this week. Two Presbyterian congregations caught fire and burned to ground, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Little Rock, Arkansas and First Presbyterian Church of Girard, Pennsylvania. The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has been in contact and providing assistance and resources.

Let us pray for the pastors and the congregations as they start the hard of work of putting things back together.

God who does not abandon us,

We lift up the people of the Westminster Presbyterian and First Presbyterian of Girard, they grieve the loss of the building and community gathering place.  Each day as they see the empty shell touch their hearts with comfort and with imagination. We know that you can and will raise a new opening for exciting ministries and community building.  Encourage the leadership to dream new dreams and see opportunities of announcing the kingdom of God in new ways.


In Christ’s name we pray.