Congregation Plans to Rebuild 19th Century Church Destroyed by Fire 

When you join the social circle at the Kinney house in Pembroke, it can be hard to keep straight who is related to whom.”My grandson married their daughter,” said Helen Brown, a longtime resident of the town.The confusion is mostly due to Gary and Iva Kinney’s relationship with their neighbors.”They’re who we give our Christmas gifts to, they’re who we remember birthdays,” said Iva.But it can also be attributed to a piece of town history to which they can all relate, the First Baptist Church.”It was built in 1853,” explained Gary, who has served as its Pastor for the last 27 years. “I remember going there as a teenager,” he said.But this year, the memories will be different.”Little did we know, Sunday night, when we were dismissed, that that would be the last time we’d be back there,” the Pastor told us.A fire broke out inside the church Monday afternoon, burning down the building. The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating what sparked the blaze, but officials said Tuesday it would be two or three days before they determined a cause.”It was very hard, really sad. I mean that’s our life, what we’ve worked on for 27 years. To not have it there, to see it all charred and the frame of the basement we put in that we had our fellowship room and just all gone.” said the Kinneys.But just one day later, inside the Kinney kitchen, the congregation was back together, focusing on the long history of good memories and making plans to rebuild with the support of a strong family foundation.”We are very strong people and I think we can do very well,” said Brown.Pastor Kinney is holding a special service at his home Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m. for members of the congregation. He hopes to have a space to hold services by this Sunday. For more information on the church’s plans, you can call Pastor Kinney at 726-3935.