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Bear Creek Community Church to rebuild after fire

The words “We lost our sanctuary, not our praise” stand out on Bear Creek Community Church’s marquee sign, and in the attendees’ hearts, two weeks after a fire destroyed the sanctuary.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 28, a 3-alarm fire broke out, completely engulfing the sanctuary. The fire was later determined to be an accidental fire, but the destruction was so severe the sanctuary will need to be rebuilt.

“My initial reaction was interesting, because on the night of the fire, I received a call around 6:10 a.m. on Thursday morning from a friend of mine named Brian, who is an Irving fireman, and who I also have known since high school,” Pastor Dennis Webb of Bear Creek Community Church said. “He called and told me ‘Hey Dennis, your church is on fire,’ and of course when you’re just waking up, and somebody tells you that your church is on fire, it really doesn’t register the first time. I responded ‘what’ and he repeated it was on fire, and that’s when it finally hit me.

“At first I thought that it was a small fire in the corner of the building. I’m a former firefighter who served for 30 years. When he told me they put a third-alarm on it, that’s when I knew it was a pretty bad fire.

“Our plan now is to rebuild the sanctuary,” Webb said. “We are going to reconfigure it, build it bigger, and make it nicer. We were lucky we had insurance, which means we will be able to receive some funds from the company to rebuild what we lost.”

The church plans to raise additional funds through fundraisers in the future. 

“We haven’t specifically laid out any fundraising or campaigns yet, but people have asked us how they can contribute to the rebuilding effort,” Webb said. “They can either mail any contributions to the church’s address or donate online to our website.

“We have had an outpouring of love and support from the community, and we are very grateful for that. We just want to rebuild our sanctuary, so we can continue helping and supporting the ministries we do for the community.”

The Sanctuary was originally built in 1969. In the 90s, classrooms were added to the church. It was originally the home of Irving Bible Church. The building also served as Refuge Fellowship Church, and St. Therese’s Academy Catholic School. It was bought by Bear Creek Community Church in 2006.

During the winter the Fellowship Hall is converted into an inclement weather shelter. Whenever the weather drops below 32 degrees, the Fellowship hall invites the homeless indoors to sleep.

“We are still having services, and we are still housing the homeless,” Webb said. “We haven’t ceased with any of our ministries. We are fortunate we have a 27,000 square foot building, and we only lost the sanctuary. We actually converted our Fellowship hall into a sanctuary that can seat 225 people. We are still able to continue on with our services as the Lord sees fit to guide.”

“We have several cots, bedding, quilts, and blankets,” Webb said. “We want them to have a warm and safe place to stay. We provide them food and encouragement. As a result, we’ve gotten to personally know a lot of the homeless in our community.

The church has to make a few adjustments to keep up the services they provide.

“The administrative area where my office, the financial office, secretary office, and the copy room were not damaged by the fire, but because they were right next to the sanctuary they suffered from water damage,” Webb said. “We also lost the power to that section of the building, because that particular power grid was intergraded with the sanctuary’s grid. We temporary moved offices into classrooms until we can get back to normal. We still are doing fine and nothing has really changed.”

To donate in support of the church, mail funds directly to Bear Creek Community Church, 2700 Finley Road, Irving, Texas 75062, or visit BearCreekIrving.org .