Upstate church set to officially nearly 2 years

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An Upstate church is set to officially reopen nearly two years after a fire destroyed its sanctuary. On Dec. 26, 2020, flames engulfed Cowpens First Baptist in downtown Cowpens. In the days, weeks and months that followed, the community and churches stepped in to help the congregation. It was able to worship out of its gym facility and rebuild. “Churches all over South Carolina and even outside of our borders have sent money, some gave chairs, some gave equipment,” said Rev. Kermit Morris. Morris was four months in as interim pastor at the time. “This fire changed us completely,” he said. “The whole church. It was a period when the fire came, we had to adjust to what was coming next and God just led us.” The church will officially reopen Sunday, Dec. 4. The sanctuary features a new look, including seats rather than pews. It also features reminders of the past, including a cross, which was salvaged from the fire by a firefighter. But the changes are not only physical. Before the fire, about 40 members attended. Now, Morris said, there are about 140. “The influx, the gifts, the courage, the concern of the community gave us that shock treatment to get our heart pumping again and we were able to move forward,” said Morris. “We are forever grateful to that and because of that, we are now positioning ourselves that we can now pay it forward and do the same thing for other churches when they get into crisis.” The church has started a fund to do that. Morris said he’s eager for the congregation to gather on the first official Sunday in the new church. “I am just praying I can get through it without crying,” he said. “It’s miraculous what God’s done here. People say miracles don’t happen anymore. This is a testimony to a miracle happening. It was all God.”

An Upstate church is set to officially reopen nearly two years after a fire destroyed its sanctuary.

On Dec. 26, 2020, flames engulfed Cowpens First Baptist in downtown Cowpens.

In the days, weeks and months that followed, the community and churches stepped in to help the congregation. It was able to worship out of its gym facility and rebuild.

“Churches all over South Carolina and even outside of our borders have sent money, some gave chairs, some gave equipment,” said Rev. Kermit Morris.

Morris was four months in as interim pastor at the time.

“This fire changed us completely,” he said. “The whole church. It was a period when the fire came, we had to adjust to what was coming next and God just led us.”

The church will officially reopen Sunday, Dec. 4.

The sanctuary features a new look, including seats rather than pews. It also features reminders of the past, including a cross, which was salvaged from the fire by a firefighter.

But the changes are not only physical. Before the fire, about 40 members attended. Now, Morris said, there are about 140.

“The influx, the gifts, the courage, the concern of the community gave us that shock treatment to get our heart pumping again and we were able to move forward,” said Morris. “We are forever grateful to that and because of that, we are now positioning ourselves that we can now pay it forward and do the same thing for other churches when they get into crisis.”

The church has started a fund to do that.

Morris said he’s eager for the congregation to gather on the first official Sunday in the new church.

“I am just praying I can get through it without crying,” he said. “It’s miraculous what God’s done here. People say miracles don’t happen anymore. This is a testimony to a miracle happening. It was all God.”



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