Thursday, July 24, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;80.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/bkn.png;2014-07-24 16:04:37
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Nashua church stronger than fire

Telegraph Editorial

The response by members of the Heritage Baptist Church the day after a fire caused serious damage to their church building on Lock Street in Nashua says at least a little about the power of faith – and a lot about the human spirit.

We have no doubt that members of the church are hurting. A fire, even where everyone gets out safely as was the case in this instance, can be a traumatic event. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

The response by members of the Heritage Baptist Church the day after a fire caused serious damage to their church building on Lock Street in Nashua says at least a little about the power of faith – and a lot about the human spirit.

We have no doubt that members of the church are hurting. A fire, even where everyone gets out safely as was the case in this instance, can be a traumatic event.

But on Monday morning – less than 24 hours after 68 members of the Heritage Baptist Church were forced out of their building and onto the street by fire – Heritage Baptist parishioners gathered to pray for the seven victims of last week’s deadly fire in Lowell, Mass., and for the safety of the firefighters in Nashua who responded to their own disaster the night before.

That those who were touched by danger at Heritage Baptist still had the grace of spirit to think of others at such a time suggests that they possess a collective strength of character that bodes well for the future of the church.

It reminded us of a fire in another New Hampshire city in the 1990s, when the pastor took pains to point out that although the building they worshiped in had been destroyed by a spectacular midnight fire, the church itself was still very much intact. It was important to keep in mind, the pastor said, that the real church was composed of the people within and their faith in God. They would soldier on, he predicted resolutely, and he was right. That house of worship was rebuilt in time, but the church itself – the really important part – was never destroyed to begin with.

The same is true of the Nashua church.

“We’ve struggled, but the people are wonderful people,” Heritage Pastor Larry Hileman said outside the church building on Monday. “We met together in the parking lot and joined in prayer. We’ll just pray for wisdom. We built before, we’ll build again.”

It sounds like they have wisdom in abundance – enough to understand that not only are churches houses of worship, they are also embodiments of community.

The fire will eventually become part of the church’s history: Like its humble beginnings in Nashua’s Greeley Park in 1993; or the period where services were held in the homes of individual members; or the stretch when Heritage Baptist rented space from other churches while they saved up enough money to be able to afford their own building, which they bought in 2005.

One day, perhaps years from now, children who fled the parish on Sunday night will recount the event for their grandchildren, and someone will tell the story of how several bibles were salvaged from the fire, including the pastor’s and a white one that belonged to a little girl. That will become part of the church’s heritage, as it were.

In the meantime, the church will continue to be a church, albeit one whose members might have to improvise a little while the rebuilding takes place, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

“We stick together in times like this,” said parishioner Robert Hicks. “We’re like a family, stronger than most families are.”

And they can serve as an inspiration to those on the outside who will watch as that family turns misfortune into opportunity, draws strength from faith and emerges even stronger than before.