Church rebuilds after devastating fire

Portsmouth Penecostal Holiness Church (WAVY / Joe Fisher)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY ) — The congregation at Pentecostal Holiness Church is back home after a fire forced them from their building two months ago.

Fire ripped through the church’s fellowship hall and into the sanctuary in May, but Sunday marked the start of a new beginning for the church after 115 years in Portsmouth.

“It’s a great day,” said Rev. Marlon Harvin. “We thank God for bringing us back to the place where it all started.”

The fire that originated in the church’s HVAC system was ruled accidental by the Portsmouth Fire Department.

After 10 weeks of rebuilding, the once collapsed walls inside the church are again sturdy.

“We had to change out the ceiling. So, a brand new ceiling, brand new recess lighting,” according to Rev. Harvin, who says the road to recovery has been emotional. “This is what your faith is tested at when you go through rough times and you go through things that it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out or it is not understandable.”

The sermon Sunday zeroed in on the recent struggle, a journey Pastor Harvin hopes resonated deeper into people’s personal lives.

“Things will come to knock you down. Things will come to discourage you and to be a struggle and a strain and be suffering,” said Rev. Harvin. “But at the end of it there is victory, and you just get up and you get up better than you did before you went down.”

The damaged totaled more than $50,000. The bills were covered mostly by insurance, and the congregation also stepped in to help.

This Wednesday will be the first bible study back at the church since the fire.

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