Church members counting their blessings after lightning strike sparks fire

Church would have been full, but services cancelled due to threat of severe weather

AMORY, MISS. (WCBI) – A lightning strike during Wednesday night’s storms is being blamed for a fire at a Monroe County Church.

The fire caused some damage to the church building, but the pastor and congregation are counting their blessings and preparing for Easter Sunday.

Lightning struck Amory’s First Assembly of God around 7 20 Wednesday evening.

“One of the girls from our church called me and said, ‘Pastor Justin, Mamaw, her grandmother lives over here, said lightning had struck the church and it was on fire,” said Pastor Justin Myers.

That’s how Pastor  Myers first heard that the church he’s led for six years was on fire.  On a typical Wednesday night, Pastor Justin, along with hundreds of other church members, would have been getting out of mid-week services, many would have been talking and fellowshipping in the foyer, where parts of the ceiling came crashing down when the lightning struck.

“I’m the kind of person, been in church my whole life, I know the sign of a healthy church is people staying around and talking, when you have community and fellowship, it’s a good thing.  We would have had people here in this area, but because we didn’t have church nobody was here, Thank the Lord,”  Pastor Myers said.

Just outside the main entrance, more signs of the power of the lightning bolt as pieces of the broken steeple lay in the parking lot.

Amory Fire Chief Zack McGonagill says the quick response from firefighters meant the blaze was out within 20 minutes, and damage contained to a portion of the roof, and the church lobby.

“It takes a team to put out something like this and make an extinguishment, and by God’s grace we made a good save last night,” Chief McGonagill said.

The lightning strike and fire happened four days before Easter Sunday, the most important celebration for any church.  And while the sanctuary won’t be ready for Easter Sunday services, the church’s Family Life Center, built two years ago, debt-free, during Covid, will do just fine.

“We’re going to have service this Sunday, one service, we normally have two, at 10;30 in our Family Life Center, we’re moving all of our stuff over to have service so we can fit everybody in there, the greatest day in history if you’re a Christian,” Myers said.

Myers also wanted to thank pastors and church members from across the region and denominational lines, who are offering any assistance as the clean-up and repairs get underway.

Pastor Myers estimates it will take a couple of months to repair damage from the lightning strike and fire.


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