Saturday, December 24, 2011

Remembering the Fire

Today being Christmas eve, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.  In addition to being a time of celebration, for many of us this is also a time for reflection on the past.

It was 4 years ago yesterday that the sanctuary at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church was completely destroyed by fire.  

#N_16855 - Before the fire


I suspect that nobody who was present the morning of December 23, 2007 will ever forget that day.  It was like a bad dream waking up on Sunday morning 2 days before Christmas, learning that your church had been reduced to ruins in an overnight fire. 

After a lot of work, study and planning, a new sanctuary was built to replace that which burned and it opened on the 2nd anniversary of the fire, December 23, 2009. 

Yesterday, two years after the first service in the new sanctuary, a sculpture was dedicated to mark the place in history where the congregation moved beyond the tragedy of the fire to continue forward.  The sculpture was created by Jim Smith from a twisted, melted steel beam that was part of the roof support structure in the original sanctuary.  You can clearly see in the 2nd image above the steel beams melted and sagging from the intense heat of the fire.  

#N_111631 - The "Rising" by artist Jim Smith
Below are a few more images of the new church.

#N_78409 - Outside at night

#N_78851B - Inside Stained Glass

#N_78158 - Antiphonal Organ (fisheye view)
 The 60 rank pipe organ was built and installed by A.E. Schulter Pipe Organ Company of Lithonia, Georgia.  I created this image using a fisheye lens from behind the antiphonal organ.


  1. It's been unfortunate and a blessing to learn of the events noted here. The fisheye lens gives an interesting perspective of the pipe organ with the image above it presenting the more realistic view. An audible file would be very well suited to this page when possible.

  2. I came in here to read up on Dungeness on Cumberland Island, as I had been there once on Thanksgiving Day in November 1982 before I went into the United States Navy. I rode down the East Coast on my parent's sail boat from North Carolina. I was so impressed with Cumberland Island. Now I live just south of there in Saint Augustine, Florida. I hope to make it back up to Cumberland this coming summer for at least a day. I remember my visit as if it were yesterday. The roof over the pool house was in the process of caving in on the north side. I remember thinking how I wished that the Park Service would fix it, as I was seeing history being demolished over time before my very eyes.

    I'm very sorry to see what happened to your Church. God's plans are often unexplained, but it looks like your new Sanctuary is absolutely beautiful. I would have to say that the Architect did a fine job on the new design. The pipe organ is stunning. I was not aware that anyone even made them in this day and age. I'm glad that it's a craft that's not gone away. I look forward to looking through you posted photography.

    It is my understanding that the Park Service is restoring Dungeness to it's former glory. I certainly hope that's the case. Even the ruins back in 1982 were impressive, but it'd be nicer to see the entire house as it once stood. Its my understanding that the house was burned by prohibitionist, but I've got to say, I find that kind of hard to imagine considering the timeline.

    Take care.
    Jeffrey Bohemier