Church rebuilt after devastating fire in 2020

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 11:21 PM EST
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COWPENS, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - An Upstate church is rebuilt and reopen after it burned to the ground nearly two years ago.

Cowpens First Baptist Church has risen from the ashes not just physically, but members say spiritually as well.

“Through this whole process we learned that the buildings are just a tool, the people are the church,” said Rev. Kermit Morris.

Standing on stage during choir rehearsal, it wasn’t far from that exact spot Gay Mathis watched the church she grew up in engulfed in flames.

“It was very, very sad that day. I actually stood in the parking lot across from the church and just cried tears,” she recalled.

The church caught fire on Dec. 26, 2020, and with it seven decades of history.

“Nothing can ever take those moments away from you, but from this point on we’re going to look forward to what God has next,” said Morris.

After 23 months of services in different auditoriums and gyms, the congregation was able to worship in their new sanctuary for the first time this past weekend.

“In the new building on Sunday, I cried some tears of joy,” said Mathis.

Built on the same land as the old church, it’s a fresh start with some reminders of the past.

A piece of a stained glass window, a cross, and a supper table are the only remaining items from the church that once was.

While the fire was devastating, it’s what has come from the flames over the last nearly two years that Mathis says has been a blessing.

“We literally became closer as a group of people,” she said.