MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - First United Methodist Church in Downtown Memphis is gearing up for its first Easter Celebration since its original sanctuary was destroyed by a fire.
Every Easter Sunday is special for the congregation at First United Methodist Church in Downtown Memphis, but this year, it’s even more significant.
"Easter is a time of new hope and a time of new life. And somewhat symbolically, this is a time for new life for us, a new beginning," said Andy Rambo, senior pastor.
It's a new beginning that's been in the works since 2006, when fire ripped through the church, burning the historic sanctuary to the ground.
Pastor Rambo says the fight to rise above the ashes was a slow and often discouraging one.
"We didn't know if we had the money to get beyond just a shell, but as we got close to the end of that, God provided other people and we continued along," said Rambo.
Rambo and the First United Methodist Church are offering that continued faith to worshippers in France, after a major fire erupted at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris this week.
It's a feeling they know all too well.
"I had a number of members quickly recall the day that they stood across the street and saw our bell tower fall," said Rambo.
He says the ministry continues beyond the building and has hope that one day soon the congregation in Paris will too be worshipping in the Notre Dame sanctuary on an Easter Sunday.
"We have confidence in the way that God has brought this about, that He has wonderful plans for this church in the future," said Rambo.
There’s a rooftop upstairs and the congregation will have a sunrise service at 6:30 Easter Sunday, followed by a service in the sanctuary at 11 a.m.