A fire ripped through the Clinton Assembly of God Church this week, leaving behind decades of special memories in the rubble. Lines of cars, moving like a funeral procession showing respect for a friend, drove slowly past the fire scene as the ash smoldered for hours. The church was once home to a daycare that helped many working parents stay employed. People recalled the activities they attended there as young church members.
And there were weddings and funerals.
In September 2003, the Assembly of God Church wrapped its arms around the community and the families of three children who lost their lives in a drowning incident at Clinton Lake. No one who saw the three small, white caskets carrying Christopher Hamm, Austin Brown and Kyleigh Hamm will ever forget their funeral and the large crowd that gathered to escort them to the cemetery.
Churches open their doors in times of great joy and sorrow. During that awful week in the fall of 2003 and countless other times, the Assembly of God Church has been there for the community and grieving families.
A huge part of the church may have been swallowed by the flames, but the love the church has extended, and the affection held by its members, cannot be extinguished.