In the early morning hours of December 31, 2012, fire alarms sounded from Taylor Chapel’s sanctuary. It was on fire. Even though the majority of their facilities were saved, the sanctuary sustained tremendous damage. It was a total loss. Sadly, the sanctuary was relatively new, just being four years old when it burned.
In the days and weeks that followed, Fort Wayne’s church community responded to this tragedy with love, prayer, and even tangible support. They shared, “It was an amazing experience of seeing the body of Christ rally around us to encourage us on.”
Although the church was insured, the assessment and negotiation with the insurance company proved to be complex and time consuming. Insurance proceeds alone were not quite enough to rebuild the sanctuary the congregation envisioned. They contacted IN U.M. Loan & Savings Ministry, and with our depositors’ help we were able to fund part of the costs to rebuild the sanctuary with a loan.
A Season of Deepening…
The sanctuary was demolished, but with expert guidance, they saved any areas where they could. They were quoted saying “While we believe God does not cause such events, we also believe His purposes are not thwarted by such events either. Tragedy never has the last word, and God always has the last word and is able to bring new life from the ashes.”
“His purposes are not thwarted by such events either. Tragedy never has the last word, and God always has the last word and is able to bring new life from the ashes.”
Throughout the process, they were blessed with small reminders that God was with them every step of the way. One subtle sign was the discovery of a picture of Jesus weeping over Jerusalem from the Garden of Gethsemane. The picture was hanging on a wall near the hottest part of the fire, yet survived and lay in the ashes unnoticed for 10 months. The congregation has learned to embrace those moments, calling it a “season of deepening” in their faith and trust in God.
On February 1, 2015, they held their first service in the new sanctuary. Close to 200 people braved a snowstorm threat that day to worship together in the new sanctuary, enjoying a great day of celebration and blessing. God truly was with them every step of the way through the lengthy process of transition and recovery.