Munford church holds service days after sanctuary destroyed in fire

MUNFORD, Tenn. — The small community of Munford is still coming together after a fire tore through a church that is nearly 100 years old, burning it to the ground.

Munford is about 40 minutes north of Memphis.

PHOTOS: River of Life church fire

The church held service for the first time since the fire that happened on Friday.

Standing together, united, the voices of Munford River of Life Church came together as one to say they are thankful.

It’s been just days since the fire tore through their sanctuary, destroying it nearly 10 hours after it began.

Sunday, they moved their service next door to the gymnasium, undeterred said the church’s pastor, the embodiment of their theme, that they will, once again, rise.

“It’s wonderful to have a separate location where people can gather in healing,” said lead pastor Greg Temke, speaking in what is traditionally the church’s food pantry. It was, instead, his office.

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Temke asked that no parishioners be interviewed, feeling many would be too overcome with emotion to talk.

“People ask what do we need. At least now we have a building, but we need a lot of stuff,” Temke said.

Temke said the fire started in the church’s attic and spread, destroying everything from office supplies to things used by kids’ classes.

The cause is still being investigated.

“A lot of people are somber because there are a lot of memories that took place over the last 93, 94 years,” said executive pastor Ben Kirk.

As rain fell on the charred remains of the sanctuary Sunday morning, Temke said they’re already in the process of finding a new location.

“The church will be healthy as a body and the church will have vision,” he said.