MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Almost 200 Easters have been celebrated at First United Methodist Church Downtown, but Sunday was the first in its brand new sanctuary.
"The sanctuary is just a building, but it's a significant building. People are baptized. People are married, and Easter services are celebrated," said Andy Rambo, senior pastor.
On Easter, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
This holiday, congregants at First United Methodist Church feel their beloved church has been resurrected after a fire burned a lot of it to the ground 13 years ago.
"Well we have come back from the ground," said Phil Brown, congregant.
While services have been held in the sanctuary since August, Sunday was the first Easter.
"It seemed like we would never have a sanctuary. It seemed like we'd be in the fellowship hall forever," said Brown.
It’s not lost on this congregation how being in a new home is worth celebrating on Easter.
"Jesus is risen. he is alive. He's promised us new life in him. In that he's promised this congregation new life," said Rambo.
Congregant Phil Brown says an organ will be installed this summer, which will help complete the sanctuary's transformation.
Brown has missed the last few services because she's recovering from a stroke, but she had to come on Easter.
"I'm excited to be here," said Brown.
While this Easter will stand out for these congregants, people have celebrated Easter at First United Methodist Church for almost 200 years.
They say they will continue to do the same moving forward.
“Hopefully there will be 200-300 more,” said Rambo.