Fire burned down historic church in Englewood, but parishioners continue to worship together

Saturday, March 26, 2016
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Carolina Leid reports from Englewood.

ENGLEWOOD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A congregation in New Jersey is proving a building isn't nearly as strong as the people who bond together inside.

The historic 156-year-old First Presbyterian Church of Englewood was destroyed by fire Tuesday.

But, the church is people not a building.

On Good Friday, parishioners gave thanks, heartbroken by a fire that badly damaged their church.

Home to so many life changing moments; weddings, christenings, funerals, and more than a century worth of memories.

"The flames shooting out from the steeple. It was horrifying. I just sat there and all I could do was cry. I was in shock total shock," said Beneranda Baez, a parishioner.

"It is devastation to the whole community for one thing. The community has come forward certainly they have been very generous," said Abby Todd, a parishioner.

First Presbyterian Church of Englewood went up in flames Tuesday night.

The fire destroyed the sanctuary just days before Easter.

Pastor Richard Hong inspired his congregation with his words at their temporary home at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church in Englewood.

He lifted their spirits with a cross pulled from the ashes by firefighters, a reminder that they will be back and that they will rebuild.

"This is the most beautiful discoloration I could imagine. It survived! What is a better example of what we will do then this? We will look different we will be different," Pastor Hong said.

Pastor Hong suspects it was an electrical fire. Fire investigators do not believe it was suspicious.

Easter services will be held at Bergen PAC Sunday morning at 11.