Volunteers Rebuild Church after Devastating Fire

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CALIFORNIA - Volunteers from First Baptist Church in Hermitage, Mo. came to California Monday to help rebuild the Flag Spring Baptist Church after it burned to the ground last Thanksgiving. The cause of the fire is unknown.

Ken Chapman, pastor of Flag Spring church, said the volunteer builders contacted him after the fire asking if they could help rebuild the church.

"Free labor is pretty rare so we are so blessed to have all of this help and support," Chapman said.

The Hermitage volunteers have built a church every year for the past nine years. More than 70 volunteers, ages 2 to 80, are helping build the church as part of a family vacation of service. The volunteers are staying in RVs and motels in California for the week.

"The men in our church felt they wanted to go out and help people," said Volunteer Coordinator Terry Cable.

Cable said after building nine churches, they're starting to get the hang of it. He also said they have several carpenters in the group and other men with building experience. They plan to have the new Flag Spring Baptist Church completed by Friday at noon. Start to finish the group is building a church in one week.

"We'll have a few other volunteer groups come out over the next few months to put the finishing touches on the place," Chapman said.

Chapman said they hope to have a dedication ceremony for the new church on the 1-year anniversary of the fire this Thanksgiving.