Pastor shares hopes for future and thanks for help after devastating fire

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Updated now that a facility that better suits their needs has been established:

Starting this Sunday we will be holding services at:

Pickens County Community Center
1329 Camp Rd, Jasper, GA 30143

SERVICE TIME CHANGE: 9:30 AM Sunday; 7 PM Wednesday

This location is just a few miles from our previous site. This will easily provide the space we need with a quality that will be appreciated. We believe at this time that this location will serve us well until we find a permanent solution.Although they’re new to Pickens County, the Gospel Outreach Church has made quite an impact in the community. From their modest beginnings in January 2013, to offering a monthly soup kitchen and services to the needy while feeding the souls of the church members, this church has taken the community by storm.

Gathering around 200 members within a year of opening its doors, hearts and minds have been moving forward until a seemingly heart-stopping incident tore through the progress Saturday night. Shortly after stopping by to turn the heat up for Sunday morning services Pastor Jerry Stewart got the call that the church building, occupying the site of the old Bargain Barn, was in flames.

He immediately returned to the scene to find the report true and observed as the physical manifestation of he and his congregations’ hopes and dreams disappeared. He said it was hard to watch as his church members’ personal instruments, their church materials, their electronic equipment, everything they’d poured into it was destroyed but a thought entered his mind as he lamented the losses:

“Fire may destroy it here but it will be held through eternity in heaven.”

From that moment forward, Stewart has tried to view the event as a bump in the road, a

“set-up for a step-up to the next thing God has in store for us,”

he termed it. It didn’t take long for God work from that thought back to forward movement again. With the support of the community, thoughts, prayers, donations, etc., the church is getting back on its feet.

The Pickens County Chamber of Commerce quickly offered its building for services the morning following the fire. The members gathered there then and will do so again for the Wednesday night service, but their immediate future is uncertain as the building doesn’t have enough room for their varying programs.

“Hopefully in the next few days we can nail down some plans,”

Stewart said.

He and his family, wife Nancy and a daughter who attends Pickens High School, only moved to the county in October after watching the church begin to flourish. They have acclimated well to their new home but especially after this incident, they are proud to be a part of Pickens County.

“This has been an extraordinary few days but the community has been amazing.”

He wanted to extend his heartfelt thanks for the prayers, thoughts and donations from everyone. He stated he’s thankful for the public officials who’ve offered various means of support, from Al Wigington, Sheriff Donnie Craig, Commissioner Rob Jones to the emergency personnel who responded. He also pointed out the heartbreak the building owner, Johnny Padgett, shared in knowing that his building was being used in a way to help people and now suffering that loss too.

“There is a blessedness we share as a community and I’m so proud to be a part of that,”

Stewart explained.

For further details on the fire itself, please see:

Gospel Outreach Church Fire

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