Mount Holly church rebuilt after fire to be rededicated Sunday


MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – First Baptist Church in Mount Holly has a new look. The church, which was rebuilt after the sanctuary was destroyed by a fire five years ago, will be rededicated Sunday.

Some things stand the test of time.

“It’s about first, who God is and second, who this church is together,” said Kendell Cameron, Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church Mount Holly.

The congregation saved this sanctuary during the Great Depression.

“The depression hit, and they were in debt, and they had to sell land and do all kinds of things just to be able to hold onto it,” said Cameron.

The church, which started in the 1880s, lived through two global pandemics, the Spanish Flu of 1918 and now COVID.

“We’re here to serve God long-term.”

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But the true test came one summer day five years ago.

“I can’t even explain how sad I am right now, because I grew up in this church,” one church member told FOX 46, as she watched a fire rip through the sanctuary.

“Much like Notre Dame’s roof a couple years ago, where it just spread through the roof line and kept going, and that’s when I knew we were in trouble,” said Cameron.

The pastor was on a family trip across the world as his church burned.

“Knowing that I couldn’t be with the incredible people who I love dearly was incredibly hurtful,” he said.

Workers were using a torch that ignited something in the attic that caught the church on fire. The people gathered and prayed.

“Lord, we love you,” they said.

And pledged to rebuild.

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“In Your precious and holy name we pray, Amen,” they prayed.

But was there anything that could be saved?

“These are our original windows. They were all built in the 1920s,” said Cameron.

The stained glass windows, almost 100-years-old, withstood the fire. The ones that were destroyed were replaced by almost perfect matches.

The prayer room is a sanctuary of all that was saved in the fire, a church pew, medallions from stained glass windows and a wooden cross.

The walls are still standing. The roof collapsed inside them from the fire, but the engineers said it was safe to keep the skeleton.

“All of the inside is new, but the exterior is all our original,” explained Cameron.

The foundation was saved, and something else was pulled from the rubble, God’s word.

“They were water logged, but we still have them,” said Cameron.

Firefighters pulled out two Bibles from the burning sanctuary.

“The one my mother gave me, the one the church gave me,” said Cameron.

On Sunday at 10:30 am, the church will be rededicated.

“It holds on a lot to the past, but embraces a future that we believe God has for us.”

The building has survived for almost a century because of its people.

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