By Wayne Gates
On April 10 of 2017, a fire broke out in chapel of the Bible Baptist Church in Mt. Orab.
The building which housed the original sanctuary which saw countless baptisms, weddings and funerals was destroyed six days before Easter Sunday.
17 months later, the rebuilt building was dedicated once again to the service of God and his people.
Ted House is the pastor of the church.
“We were able to rebuild the chapel in the same location. That was important to the congregation. We were also able to save the baptismal scene and put the same style of pews back in,” he said.
“The insurance company when they rebuilt it was able to do a lot of things in the chapel to make it look like the old chapel.”
The church also welcomed back longtime Pastor Charles Smith to participate in the dedication.
“The people really enjoyed seeing him and his wife, Miss Nancy. The ladies really love and miss her. It was like a homecoming,” House said.
Smith pastored Bible Baptist from December of 1982 until May of 2015 when he retired.
“He brought historical perspective to the dedication because he pastored for so long. He spoke during the morning service and then participated in the dedication,” House said.
“That helped tie the old to the new. It wouldn’t have been so special if he had not been here.”
House said that the congregation handled the difficult situation well over the past year and a half.
“There has been quite a spirit of unity. They were, of course, sad to see the building go because of all their memories,” he said.
The building that burned was the original building where the church all started when it was built back in the 1960’s.”
House said that those who walk through the new building will see a lot of familiar things.
“We put our fellowship rooms back in the same area so the footprint of the building is very close to the original,” he said.
There is one new addition to the new building that the church will be able to use moving forward.
“We got some new office space in the area where the old Sunday School rooms were. Because we have plenty of Sunday School space, we converted that area into office space,” House said.
He added that he was grateful for all the help that he and the congregation received during the past year and a half.
“I would again like to thank the fire department and first responders for their help when the fire happened. I would also like to thank the community again for all the support they showed us,” House said.
He also said it was very satisfying to see the building back in business.
“It served its generation well and this new building will better serve the coming generation, which is the future of the church,” House said.