By Brian Blackwell, Baptist Message staff writer
POLLOCK, La. (LBM) – Three days after a fire destroyed the facilities at New Friendship Baptist Church, more than 215 faithful members and guests gathered under a tent, Feb. 19, to praise God despite their loss.
Pastor Lloyd Whitman said while he and his congregation are devastated over the fire that burned down the worship center, fellowship hall and education building on Feb. 16, the church has a bright future in Christ. Whitman said the church is looking forward to rebuilding on the grounds.
“We are not quitting,” Whitman told the Baptist Message. “Quitters never win, and winners never quit. We are going forward.”
Whitman said the church will continue to meet under the Louisiana Baptist Convention-owned tent for several more weeks and after that time could relocate temporarily for worship to one of the many churches that have offered their facilities.
Whitman noted his thanks for the outpouring of support shown from sister Louisiana Baptist and other denominational churches.
“There has been a tremendous outpouring of love for our church,” Whitman said. “I have always known we are together as churches but the love so many people have shown us is uplifting.
“The community showed up for the service, along with the many texts, emails, calls and money and other resources we have received have kept us going emotionally,” he continued. “It has just been wonderful not just for me as a pastor but for my people.”
An investigation into the fire continues and the cause is unknown, Whitman said.
A fund has been established to help the church rebuild. Donations (specified for the building fund) may be sent to: New Friendship Baptist Church, Bro. Lloyd Whitman, P.O. Box 174, Dry Prong, Louisiana 71423.