Christmas unites community after fire guts historic church

Historic Church Fire Rebuild
The iron frame that once held Tiffany glass windows in the sanctuary at Middle Collegiate Church is seen in New York on Dec. 14, 2020. After a devastating fire earlier in the month, the facade and the New York Liberty Bell are the only parts of the 128-year-old church that remain. (AP Photo/Emily Leshner)

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s historic Middle Collegiate Church was destroyed in a massive fire Dec. 5, leaving its congregants devastated.

But churchgoers have been uplifted by the spirit of the Christmas season, singing carols and performing dances in an online observation of Advent. Their message: We will rebuild.

About $500,000 has been raised for reconstruction, and 25 people have joined as new church members since the fire. Some say the blaze has shown the church community’s resilience and demonstrated that it goes far beyond mere “brick and mortar.”

Historic Church Fire Rebuild

In this Dec. 12, 2020 image taken from video, professional dancer Adrienne Hurd performs in front of the façade of New York City’s 128-year-old Middle Collegiate Church, which was devastated by fire the week earlier. Hurd’s performance was shown as part of the church’s virtual Dec. 20 Advent service. (Lutin Tanner via AP)

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