Leventon Chapel Free-Will Baptist Church members speak out after fire

Local

Church members from Leventon Chapel Free-Will Baptist Church are still in shock after flames erupted from the historical church. 

For more than 100 years, Leventon has served as a pillar in the area. 

Pastor Elbert Forbes has been the leader of the church for more than 11 years. 

Forbes says faith and strength are what’s carrying the congregation. 

“We have deep roots here and sentimental values here,” said Forbes. 

Despite the burnt bricks, pieces of wood and leftover rubble, Elder Forbes still calls the Leventon home. 

“It makes you have a greater appreciation,” said Forbes. “We are thankful for the things that God has blessed us with, like a church.’ 

Leventon Chapel Free-Will Baptist Church was built in 1868. The church has survived Hurricanes, Floods, slavery and the civil rights movement.

“Coming out of slavery and through reconstruction, this was the pillar for the people inside this community,” said Forbes. “They really took a stand for what was right and took the risk of really losing their lives.” 

Pastor Forbes grew up in the church and has yet to forget those that came before him. 

“We had lots of church members that struggled to get build this church into what you see today,” said Forbes “Now, it’s gone as far as from a physical point of view.” 

Physically, yes, the church is missing a roof, a few bricks, and a front door. 

It’s the optimism from Leventon’s members that are looking at the destruction as a positive. 

“Even in the midst of sorrow, we still have a sense of peace and joy,” said Forbes. “We have members that are faithful and dedicated.” 

There’s a sense of family and support that is flowing in from others inside the county. 

“We are determined to move forward, so the crisis that we’re dealing with now is going to make us better and strong,” said Forbes. “By the grace of God, we’re going to move to higher heights.” 

The Church did not have services on Easter. 

Leventon Chapel Free-Will Baptist Church is looking into other venues to host future services. 

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Fire officials are investigating a church fire in Greene County.

Greene County Fire Marshal Berry Anderson said Leventon Chapel Free Will Baptist Church along Highway 58 in the Bull Head area went up in flames Saturday.

The first call came in around 11:42am.

Multiple agencies helped with the blaze, and the matter is being investigated by the SBI.

Anderson said the building was still smoldering as of 5pm Saturday and he believes it will be a total loss.

There are no injuries.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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