GATLINBURG (WATE) – As Easter approaches, it’s a bittersweet feeling for church leaders and members at Roaring Fork Baptist Church in Gatlinburg. It was one of hundreds of buildings destroyed in last November’s wildfires and whilt ehte church family has since broken ground on a new location, it won’t be ready for Easter services.
Members of Roaring Fork Baptist Church have worshiped every Sunday since the first service after losing their buildings in the wildfires.
“The church itself is still alive and well,” said Assistant Pastor David Webb. “We’re meeting out at Camp Smoky and I think we’ve had 23 salvations in the time that we have been out there.”
For those members, salvation wouldn’t be possible without what Easter weekend represents.
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“As Luke 24:6 tells us, the angels stood there, the two men in white apparel stood there and said, ‘Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen,” said Webb, citing the Bible.
Just as the story of Easter says Jesus rose from the grave, Roaring Fork Baptist Church is now rising from the ashes.
“Everyone would love to be in these new buildings tomorrow, but we know that’s not possible,” said Webb. “As far as Easter having any different meaning after the wildfires, I can’t say that it does for me because it’s the same Lord, same Jesus.”
Webb says that same savior will be with them at Camp Smoky on Easter weekend as they carry on their Easter traditions, including the Easter egg hunt. The church lost all of its Easter eggs in the fire, but through donations 300 eggs have been replaced.
Webb says kids will get a new activity to enjoy as well.
“I know that people brought in the plastic eggs that we are going to fill but this year. We’re also going to use real eggs,” said Webb. “The kids are going to be coloring them.
Other activities include the sunrise service Sunday morning at 7:30 and the children’s play Sunday night at 6 p.m. The Easter egg hunt runs from 11 to 2 on Saturday. Everyone is invited to attend the events at Camp Smoky.