- Baptist Press - https://www.baptistpress.com -

Fire destroys portion of Northern California church

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GREENVILLE, Calif. (BP) – The three-week-old Dixie Fire engulfed the town of Greenville along with Greenville Southern Baptist Church’s fellowship hall and youth building Thursday (Aug. 5).

The church had a small apartment in which a father and three daughters were living. All four were evacuated safely but now face the loss of their home.

The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning Wednesday evening online to the town’s approximately 800 residents: “You are in imminent danger, and you must leave now!”

Terry Jones, the church’s pastor for about a year, was evacuated a few days ago. He said, “Part of our church burned, the sanctuary is still standing. Some of our church members have lost homes.”

Mike Bivins, director of California Southern Baptist Disaster Relief, said “we are not responding at this point as it’s still a hot spot. We can’t really do anything until the fires are out.”

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However, Disaster Relief is partnering with the Red Cross to distribute gift cards for food, gas and other essentials.

“We were set up to head to Plumas County to help with the 60 homes that burned, but are waiting to hear from the county …,” Bivins said. “Currently we are on standby for feeding the evacuees of the Beckwourth Complex Fire at the Red Cross shelter in Susanville.”

J. Ballard, director of missions for the Feather Mission Network, said Highway 89 through Greenville is closed but the association will be setting up a Send Relief trailer to assist fire victims.

Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss wrote Thursday on Facebook that the fire “burnt down our entire downtown. Our historical buildings, families’ homes, small businesses and our children’s schools are completely lost.”

Jones said, “God’s in control, we may not understand why, but He has a plan.”