Pulaski Church of God to hold first service on site Easter Sunday since devastating fire

PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ7) It's been a few months since fire destroyed the Pulaski Church of God. It was back in January when the devastating fire started overnight.

Thankfully no one was hurt, but the flames caused about $2 million in damage to the nearly 100-year-old church.

Since the fire, the congregation has met at the International Pentecostal Holiness Campground in Dublin up until April 9 when the space was already reserved.

Starting Easter Sunday, services will be held in the Family Life Center that was connected to the church, but luckily not damaged.

It has parishioners already coming by to check it out.

Pastor Travis Gore said, "They are just so excited to get back on site. It's going to be a big deal to me too. After being gone so long, it's just going to feel like feel like home again."

He said he's been telling people in the church, since the fire, to keep their faith strong that things would work out.

He recalled, "Those first few days were like a fog and then as we look back and reflect at where we are now from where we started that night, we're just reminded that so far so good, up to this point God has helped us and I believe as we move ahead God's going to continue to help us and be faithful."

Nearly all 350 chairs that were donated to the church are expected to be full Sunday, a celebration that happens to correlate with Easter.

"Obviously we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday, but almost for us it's like a resurrection for us, we weren't dead but we really felt the sting of what we went through," Pastor Gore said.

He said the emotions felt on Sunday could be as strong as they were during the service the night after the church burned down back in January.

"It will be emotional but a different kind of emotional," Pastor Gore said. "That first Wednesday was a lot of grief, a lot of weeping, a lot of wondering. But this service here will be a lot of celebration, a lot of gratitude, a lot of thanks giving to God for his faithfulness."

But why did it take so long? Pastor Gore had said back in January he hoped to have the first service after the fire there. Not three months down the line.

He explained, "The asbestos protocol has to take place and they were working on that. The insurance company was a little slow with some things and that's kind of held the process up a little bit, a lot longer than we thought but we've got the ball rolling now, things are coming along pretty quick."

Pastor Gore said it will likely cost around $4 million to build the new church.

Insurance paid out a little so far allowing them to buy new office equipment, sound equipment, and instruments.

But the real rebuilding starts next week when demolition crews come in to remove what's left of the church.

Discussing the timeline for the rebuild, Pastor Gore said, "I'm thinking that once demolition is completed, that's going to take a couple weeks, 2-3 weeks, then we talk to an architect, get some plans. 18-24 months is my best guess to be in something."

The Pastor added that instead of losing parishioners after the fire, they actually gained 50 to 60 people.

Sunday's service is expected to be so big, there will be two, one at 9 a.m. and then at 11 a.m.

Then the church goes back to its normal one service at 10:30 Sunday mornings.