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Fire destroys church and restaurant; local church offers to host congregation

Fire destroys church and restaurant; local church offers to host congregation
Posted at 3:33 PM, Jun 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-26 19:26:24-04

DE PERE (NBC 26) — On Friday evening, fire crews responded to a fire near Swan Road and Dickinson Road in the De Pere/Ledgeview area.

Fire destroys church and restaurant; local church offers to host congregation
Fire destroys church and restaurant; local church offers to host congregation

The building includes New Hope United Methodist Church and the Chicago Street Pub.

RELATED STORY: Crews cleaning up after battling fire in De Pere area

Here is what the scene looked like the morning after the fire broke out:

Fire destroys church and restaurant; local church offers to host congregation

And with nowhere to worship this Sunday, those who are part of New Hope’s congregation have finally found a temporary place.

Bethany Church in Ashwaubenon, which is part of the same denomination, will be hosting New Hope’s Sunday service.

Pastor Robb McClintock with Bethany Church said it was a no-brainer to reach out to New Hope.

Fire destroys church and restaurant; local church offers to host congregation

“We have a great relationship with New Hope anyways. I was blessed to be able to be on scene at the fire and meet with Pastor Rick and some of the church leadership and that’s how it came to be,” McClintock said.

He said it worked out so well that New Hope will be able to still continue to live stream and keep their service at the same time.

“It worked out really well because Bethany Church has our services at 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. So New Hope is used to having their service at 9 a.m. So we just shortened our first service a little bit for a little bit of transition time and then they can go at 9 a.m. And indeed they will be able to use our equipment to be able to stream just like they always have to their Facebook page so the folks at home will be able to be on the same rhythm and the folks who come together will as well. So it worked out just great,” McClintock said.

Pastor McClintock said he was at the scene of the fire on Friday to provide support to their sister church and other members.

“The word that keeps coming to mind is heartbreaking. Just my heart goes out to the congregation and community to see something like that happen. At the same time so grateful for the amazing community work that came together to fight the fire all of them and the support system and everything to take care of the disaster. It was just incredible to see the community outreach. The folks in the church were gathering and friends of the church were gathering and we were just taking care of each other. You know just kind of feeling it and making plans because the church doesn’t stop so we are going to keep moving forward,” McClintock said.

He said while it’s sad this happened right as things are finally starting to re-open and people are worshiping back in their buildings, he said it’s important to know that God and faith go much more beyond.

“The word of hope that I would offer is that the church is much more than our buildings and even though we might not be able to be in our buildings for any reason whether that’d be a pandemic or fire, the church of Jesus Christ keep serving the community. We keep loving others, loving God, and serving the world to our best to our ability and no fire, no pandemic can stop us. That is our word of hope, that God is still with us,” McClintock said.

New Hope Church posted the following message online for members:

"Thank You De Pere.

This weekend is an important reminder that the church is not a building. Local fire and police departments responded to a fire at the New Hope and Chicago Street Pub building on Friday afternoon (June 25). While we still wait for answers and pray for healing, we know God walks with us all on this path.

Please join us for a special worship 9:00 am Sunday, June 27 at Bethany United Methodist Church. We are so grateful for our siblings in Christ at Bethany UMC who have offered the use of their sanctuary this Sunday. Lay speaker Barb Mamerow will share her sermon as planned from this new location. Bethany Church 1110 Echo Ln Green Bay, WI 54304."

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If you're interested in helping the New Hope United Methodist Church, donations can be made by clicking here.

The fire remains under investigation. On Saturday, we reached out multiple times to the Ledgeview Fire Department for more details but NBC 26 did not hear back.