LELAND, NC (WWAY) -- Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church in Leland is barely standing after a mysterious fire leveled it early Friday morning. But the congregation still stood on Sunday thanks to a little help from a church up the road.
Inside the doors of First Baptist Church of Leland, you could hear the cries of praise that have replaced the cries of sadness from members of Blackwell Chapel
"Well, initially, we were all devastated. We really were, even just looking at it," pastor Rev. Felecia Jones said.
And it's easy to see why. Now, the church members' positive outlook is helping them face the situation.
"I count it all joy," Carl Ballard said. "People may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning."
You could feel that joy Sunday morning as the small but unified congregation came together to encourage one another. They held their heads and hands high as they no longer saw a devastating end, but a new beginning.
"I believe he is gonna see us through," Jones said. "I'm excited. I'm encouraged in what God is gonna do, and I'm gonna trust him no matter what."
The congregation has proven that a church is not just a building, but a body of believers.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Some members believe it was started purposefully because similar acts of arson have recently taken place.