Fire destroys church in Panola County - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Fire destroys church in Panola County

By Jamel Major - bio | email

CRENSHAW, MS (WMC-TV) - A North Mississippi church was burned beyond repair by a raging fire Friday.

It took eight fire departments and more than 50 firefighters to respond to the massive fire at Shiloh Church of God in Christ in Crenshaw, Mississippi.

Associate Minister Gregory McGhee said he is counting his blessings despite the fire that destroyed his Panola County church.

"In the shape and way things are looking, God is good," said McGhee.  "No lives were lost.  We're just leaning on his everlasting arm."

Smoldering ash and debris were all that was left of the church Friday night.

"When I got here, it was a total shock," said church member Crystal Merrell.  "My whole church was gone."

The blaze broke out around 3 p.m. Friday.

"All the pictures and everything that was in there, everything is gone," said Merrell.

The Old Taylor Funeral Home, which was not in operation, also went up in flames.

Members of the small congregation looked on and reflected on the more than 30 years of memories they have shared inside the house of worship.

"We recently lost our founder and pastor of the building of the church, but God is still good to us," said McGhee.  "We're not going to fall apart because of this."

Investigators were still trying to determine what started the blaze.

"They told me it started with some grass and then it caught the back of the church," said McGhee.

McGhee said he and other church members hope to soon rise above the ashes and move forward with plans to rebuild.

"Our spirits are down now, but we know God has a plan for us," said Merrell.  "This was his plan for us, and he's going to bring us through this."

The church has reportedly been undergoing renovations to increase its size.  McGhee said the congregation does plan to have service on Sunday.

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