Jasper church carries on after a fire destroys its building - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Jasper church carries on after a fire destroys its building

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WALKER COUNTY - AL -

 

Members of a Walker County Church are focused on forgiveness. Last week, the Jasper Alliance Church was burned to the ground. Two men are now in jail charged with setting fire to it.

The Jasper Alliance Church sits on Highway five between Jasper and Carbon Hill. Church members say, while the flames may have taken away their building, on this Sunday before Christmas - nothing really changed. 

A fire destroyed   everything inside the church - built in 1970. Investigators say it was at the hand of 18 year old Michael Ray Wilson and 21 year old Matthew Dalton Elliot. 

"Hopefully there will be some good to come out of this," Oliver Schlaegal, the pastor, said. "Hopefully they'll get right with God. That's what we're praying for."

A living room substitutes for a church building and sofas and kitchen chairs for pews.  Two church members offered their home and with no organ and no piano, they sang Christmas hymns and talked about forgiveness.  

"The devil has tried to destroy this church before," Garfield Powell, a founding church member said. "It's his intent to do that, but he's never been able to do it. God is sufficient for all of our needs. He promised us that and He's proven it to us over and over."

They may not be a large church, and they may not have a building anymore but what these few faithful members taught - is that it doesn't really matter where you have church - they say, what really matters is what's in your heart.

"Why should we worry?" Schlaegel said. "Why should we not be joyful when He is in control?"

That's why, these members tell us, they can still sing "Joy to the World" and mean every word.

"You can have joy in spite of what goes on," Schlaegel said.

The two men arrested are also charged with burglarizing another church - and homes. The pastor told us, they're working with their insurance company - and they plan to rebuild.

 

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