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VIDEO: Welling church pictured before and after it was ravaged by fire
WELLING church-goers have celebrated the re-opening of their “second home,” a year after it was ravaged by fire.
Twenty firefighters were called to Wellspring Pentecostal Church in New Road at around 12.30pm on November 8 last year.
The flames blackened the inside of the church and rendered it inhabitable, damaging the chairs, carpet and flooring.
Eliska Lewis said: “I remember coming down to the church and seeing the devastation, and the smell being so palpable and filling my throat.
“Spending three evenings a week here, this is like my second home.
“To watch the whole place blackened and destroyed, it absolutely broke my heart.”
Welling Salvation Army officer Peter West offered the Wellspring congregation the opportunity to worship in a back hall, adjacent to where his congregation met in Welling High Street.
Mr West said: “I hope it was useful to the congregation to give them a home and to keep them together during that time.
“We watched the work progressing and watched the people develop and it was great to put the two congregations together occasionally.”
Church-goer Shola Alabi says she was initially “fearful” about what the new location would mean for the group, but admits it benefited everyone in the end.
She said: “It seemed to me that as a congregation, those of us who left were getting closer and closer together.
“We seemed to have more and more new people coming than had been coming before this happened.”
She added: “Some people would see this as a disaster but we saw it a s a blessing because there were so many things that needed to be replaced.
“The chairs, carpet, and the flooring wasn’t right and also the structure of the building wasn’t right.
“What was a disaster turned out to be a blessing for us and we now have a brand new church.”
A video documenting the re-building of the church, which was created by 15-year-old Sean Ramsden, was shown to the congregation during Sunday evening service on October 13.
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