GATLINBURG (WATE)– Gatlinburg city leaders, church members and the Gatlinburg community celebrated a new beginning Tuesday.
Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner, City Manager Cindy Ogle, Pastor Kim McCrowskey and others broke ground on the new Roaring Fork Baptist Church. The church was destroyed in the wildfires last November.
“Today is a huge day for Gatlinburg,” said Mayor Werner. “A huge day for Roaring Fork Baptist Church, this is a new beginning, this a rebirth, this is coming out of the ashes with such success and its a great story.”
The nearly 70-year-old church was a major loss to the Gatlinburg community. It was the church home to several community members as well as a place of worship for tourists.
“This is one of the church that so many people have attended,” said Mayor Werner. “so many people call it their home church. So many lives have been saved and changed here. So many people drive by this area where their homes were lost but they see this church coming out of the ground with new birth and new beginning, so it’s wonderful for so many people.”
The congregation has been holding services at Camp Smokey, a Christian retreat.
“I know it was a good day for the congregation that was able to come, they’re not all here, but I can see them smiling and eating,” said Pastor McCrowskey. “It just blesses my heart to see that because this is a day of hope.”
An volunteer organization known as Builders for Christ will begin the rebuild in May and a contractor from Cleveland will be helping as well.
“We have a contractor who’s volunteered his time, to come and to stay until completion and he’s done that out of the goodness of his heart,” said Pastor McCrowskey.
Builders for Christ will work until August and complete the majority of the build. Pastor McCrowskey says he hopes the church will be finished by the end of the year.
Builders for Christ will be providing the labor, but not the materials. If you would like to donate to the materials fund or learn more about Roaring Fork Baptist Church, you can visit the church’s website.