A Rebirth for a Knoxville Church Destroyed by Fire

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- An electrical fire nearly two years ago left New Prospect Presbyterian Church without a sanctuary.

Just last month, an early celebration of thanks saw the congregation return home.

Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd and Photojournalist Jason Tighe have the details.

The brick and mortar may be new, but a never-wavering spirit that comes directly from faith has created what one member calls "God's building."

It's a dream come true, after nearly two years of hardship and heartache.

"There's no words to explain it. It's just fantastic. It's beautiful," said Pastor Albert Pierson.

A faith-filled structure, replacing what flames destroyed.

"There was great joy. Great celebration. Great thanksgiving that God finally fulfilled the dream from January 2005 when the fire broke out," said Pastor Pierson.

In the meantime, Anderson Elementary school had served as a temporary house of worship.

"It makes no difference. As long as you're worshiping and giving thanks for what he has done for you," said JoAnn Stansberry, a church member for forty years.

"This one is a lot more modern and convenient for everybody," said Charles Webb, who's been a member for 78 years.

The parking situation has also been improved.

Everything is now on ground level, which makes easier access for the congregation's older and physically challenged members.

"We've sure learned a lot in the last few years. And we all stuck together since our old church burnt. And went went through a lot of trials and tribulations trying to get this church built," said Webb.

Insurance covered most of the financial burden.

Church members were dedicated to serve in the planning for the new building.

"We picked up the paint. We selected the pews, the carpeting, decorated the bathrooms," said Stansberry.

"But now that they're here. In this new facility. It makes it feel and seem more like a worshipful atmosphere."

New Prospect's next project is turning a rundown building adjacent to the new church building into a community center.

Anyone interested in helping out should contact the church at (865) 577-5835.

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