W. Knoxville Church Helps Fellow Christians

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Knoxville (WVLT) -- It's been almost two weeks since the Tennessee Avenue Baptist Church was destroyed in a fire.

Today a West Knoxville church helped their fellow Christians a few miles east get back on their feet.

"We heard about the fire," said Cokesbury United Methodist pastor Steve Sallee. "What we wanted to do is in some small way, let them know that they're not alone."

So Cokesbury United Methodist took up a love offering for the Tennessee Avenue Baptist church on Sunday morning.

"Any little gift that we can do today will just be a gesture of fellow Christians," said the pastor.

They may be on separate ends of town, and from two different denominations, but together they are one faith...

"That doesn't matter. We're all God's children," he said.

Pastor Sallee says this offering will make a difference for both churches.

"This congregation is a strong church," he said, "we have a lot to offer and it helps us to give it away."

The baskets filled up quickly as Cokesbury members dug deep into their hearts and pockets.

"I got to thinking how I would feel if it were my church and I would want people to help me," said Connie Ooten-Hopkins, a Cokesbury member.

"It was just a heart wrenching story," said Wilton Little, another Cokesbury member. "Things like that happen and you just have to do something."

As they gave, some say it was a strong reminder of how grateful they are to have a place to come together and worship God...

"It's everything, because you know, the church is everything for them, someone's got to help," said Wilton, who believes it doesn't end with the love offering. "If everybody would just give a little bit of their heart and prayers, I think that's all they need right now."

The offering was taken up for two different services, which totals up to over a thousand church members.

As for how much money Cokesbury collected, they tell us they'll have a final tally on Tuesday.

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