August 29, 2019
Greater Bible Way Temple, the 61-year-old West Philly church that caught on fire earlier this week, has started a GoFundMe campaign with the hopes of eventually restoring its building.
The church caught fire Tuesday afternoon, and burned for three hours before crews were able to place the blaze under control. What caused the fire is still unclear. When the smoke cleared, the damage to the church was apparent:
at the aftermath of the Greater Bible Way Temple fire. Fire Department is back because they've found a "hot spot" in the neighboring New Life building which served as housing for the recently homeless pic.twitter.com/I9tr8QxQKp— Jake Blumgart (@jblumgart) August 28, 2019
The structure was ruled "imminently dangerous" by the Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspections on Wednesday, and it's unclear what kind of future the building itself will have.
Now, Regina Williams, the church's administrator, has launched a GoFundMe campaign as Greater Bible Way Temple attempts to rebuild, both metaphorically and literally.
"We are not a perfect church," Williams wrote on the GoFundMe page, "just a forgiven church whose doors swing on the hinges of Love. We have served this community for 35 years with our Emergency Food Cupboard, Day Care/Camp, Emergency Housing, GED Program, Recovery Program, and Holiday Feeding Program and Give-a-ways. Greater Bible Way Temple wants you to join us in making a difference."
As of Thursday evening, the GoFundMe page has raised $700 from 13 donors.
Bishop Benjamin Peterson Jr. told the Philadelphia Tribune that he still intends to hold Sunday mass this weekend at 11 a.m., in a tent near the church. Peterson said he wants to show the community that the congregation isn't going away.