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Enterprise church marks first anniversary of devastating fire

One year ago, a fire may have destroyed Enterprise United Methodist Church. But the bell that escaped the flames has fired up an enthusiasm to rebuild.

“We are inviting everyone who wants to pray for us or give to us or volunteer when we start putting up some physical stuff, to come and ring the bell and let us know that they’re with us,” said Pastor John Wesley Leek.

The bell has remained silent since the day the church burned to the ground.

“From the investigators, they believe that a faulty heating unit in the attic of the fellowship hall originally set fire to the building. The sanctuary itself was 80 years old. It was a wooden structure that brick had been added to. So, you had 80-year-old wood in the middle of those walls, it didn’t take long for that to go up,” said Leek.

As the church went up in flames, a member from the community quickly reacted and saved the bell before it was too late.

“The heat was so intense. They watched as the stained glass melted away in globs. Somebody, i don’t even think they were a member of the church, they thought quickly and came with some heavy machinery. They were able to pull this bell tower down away from the building, so there was no damage to that bell,” said Leek.

The bell has since been put back in place and now stands as a symbol of hope.

“The church may be more vibrant and vital now than it was when the church burned. We have seen new people join and have had lots and lots of kid’s activities. I think the future of this church is very bright,” said Leek.

The church feels it’s time to hear the bell again. Volunteers are invited to come ring it next Thursday on January 12th, the day the church set fire.

“Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. come anytime and ring the bell. That way this whole community will hear that bell all day long and know that we’re coming back and soon,” said Leek.

The bell ringing will take place where the former church stood on Highway 513 and River Road in

Enterprise, Ms.


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