Congregation 'forged in fire' after Bonners Ferry church arson - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Congregation 'forged in fire' after Bonners Ferry church arson

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BONNERS FERRY, Idaho -

By Tim Blodgett

While digging through the charred remains of St. Ann's church, volunteers and parishioners pull out the very few things that survived the blaze.

"It's fun to see what you can dig out of the rubble to rebuild," says Teresa Raaum "But we're a strong community the  fact that we're still here and we show up it just speaks volumes."

Raaum has belonged to St. Ann's church her entire life.

"My great grandparents came here in the 1800s, I was married in this church, I was baptized in this church, it's a life time even more so than your own home. It goes back generations"

On Thursday, the small community of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, awoke to the news that the old church was set ablaze intentionally.

"It's just a building and they are just things and that part I can grasp" says Raaum, "It's the sentimentality that's hard. It's just like losing your family home."

But when looking for a place to worship on Sunday morning, parishioners didn't need to look farther than Bonners Ferry Methodist Church, which is right across the street from St. Ann's

"You see this church community rising from the ashes and you will," said Bishop Peter Christensen "I want to give you some hope and I want to give you a challenge too. This church will be rebuilt."

Though the destruction of St. Ann's church was a tragedy it has brought the Bonners Ferry community together and has made them stronger.

"It's like we're forged in fire now, we're not going anywhere. We're here now." says Raaum "We've been here for over 100 years and there's no way this will destroy what we already know. Our faith is here. Our faith wasn't in the building. Our faith was in God."

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