SAN ANTONIO -- Taking a first look at what's left of the scorched Childress Memorial Church, Bishop Samuel Iglehart says he is overwhelmed but has faith his congregation will only grow stronger.
I was devastated, he said. I can't even articulate how we really feel, transfer the emotion that you really feel from the inside to the outside. I'm just overwhelmed.
(Click here to view photos captured during and after the fire.)
The historic church at the corner of North Pine and Hays streets on the city's east side erupted in flames just after midnight Saturday. Dozens of firefighters were called to the scene but couldn't save the church.
Iglehart told KENS 5's Marvin Hurst that his congregation is strong, and that they are already talking about bringing utility trailers to the church until they find a nearby building in which to host the church's programs and worship services.
He expects nearly 200 homeless people to show up to the church on Saturday morning, and the fire has not changed plans for the outreach program.
I'll tell my members to hold on, he said. That God has not forgotten us, and these thing that happen are usually only a test, just to see you resolve and your faith. So we believe that everything will be alright.
Childress Memorial Church Of God In Christ wasorganized in 1931 during a city-wide revival in the Wheatley Courts of San Antonio. The church moved to 107 South Pine Street from 1936-1964.
Ironically, it was a church fire thatforced the membership to its current location, 901 North Pine Street. The church s former pastor, the late Bishop T.D. Iglehart purchased the east-side building for $45,000.00 in 1964.