It is with profound sadness that I write about the fire yesterday that destroyed the building, but not the spirit nor the community, that is Roberts Chapel Baptist Church in Pendleton. We first heard the news from our FedEx driver about 3:00 and then later got more details on the phone from friends. I drove over after work praying that it was not as bad as we had heard but sadly it was. I can think of very few communities that are more closely associated with a single church than Pendleton is. I went through elementary and high school with a busload of Edwards, Manns, Fishers and others who were a part of that church and community and found many of them yesterday standing in the street and in the yards in Pendleton watching their history go up in flames. As I walked up on the scene with my camera, Gwen Bryant turned and asked me how many weddings had I photographed there. I can't begin to count how many and I'm sure my father and brother would have been equally unable to name a number. I have observed so many celebrations in that building and feel privileged to call their members my friends.
I know in my heart that the community will recover and that the church will go on and I am so thankful that no one was hurt, but my heart aches for the loss to the people of Pendleton and the congregation of Roberts Chapel.