On the night of May 11th through the early morning hours of May 12th, in 1967, Lake City First United Methodist Church burned for 7 hours. When the smoke finally cleared that terrible morning, parishioners of the church took stock of all they’d lost…and gained.
During the fire, Lake City FUMC lost its sanctuary, chapel, and children’s education building.
None of the sanctuary’s walls were standing, and the roof, which had caved in, was totally consumed by the flames. Most of the furnishings were destroyed or unrecognizable. For example, the microphone beside the pulpit was a fused piece of twisted metal. The pews were reduced to a few smoldering planks of useless, charred wood. The oaken pulpit was nothing but a pile of ashes.
But remarkably – and miraculously – the Bible that rested upon the pulpit was not destroyed as one would expect, given its highly flammable pages. Granted, the leather cover that enclosed the Bible was ruined, but most of the pages of Scripture were largely unharmed.
The Bible was open to the Book of Job. Upon reflection, it’s easy to see the correlation between Lake City FUMC’s experience and the experiences of Job. Both lost a great deal, but in the end, reveled in God’s Word.
To this day, the people of Lake City First United Methodist Church understand the power and promise behind the words of Jesus in Mark 13:31 which read:
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Bible is now enclosed by glass and on display in the church’s Fellowship Hall, testifying to the truth of God’s Word.
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(Resource cataloged by David R Smith)