TENNESSEE BAPTIST ASSISTANCE CONTINUES

By Connie Davis Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions.

TBC President Steve Freeman surveys the damage to property immediately behind Roaring Fork Baptist Church. Several homes near the church were destroyed, four of which belonged to church members. Freeman has called on Tennessee Baptists to give $20 for tragedy to help in the disaster relief effort. Contributions can be made at TNDisasterRelief.org/contributions. -Photos by Chris Turner

GATLINBURG — Tennessee Baptist Mission Board (TBMB) leaders are grateful for the quick response, both financially and with physical assistance, following the wildfires which struck the Smoky Mountains in late November.

What’s more, help will continue in the months to come, leaders agreed.

“I am thankful for the quick response of our disaster relief volunteers at the very start of this tragedy in Sevier County to meet the immediate needs of first responders and evacuees,” said Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB. [Read more…]

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MORE SCENES FROM THE GATLINBURG AREA

Photo gallery.

  • A Weakley Country Disaster Relief team member helps a National Guardsman load supplies for distribution. Ton of supplies are being delivered then divided for delivery to areas around Gatlinburg. With so many houses destroyed, the greatest need currently is financial and money contributed through Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief is used to supply specific needs individuals have in their recovery effort.
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GATLINBURG FIRE SUSPECTS ELICIT SYMPATHY

By David Roach
Baptist Press

Banner Baptist Church in Gatlinburg, Tenn., lost its fellowship hall to fire and sustained damage to another small building.

Banner Baptist Church in Gatlinburg, Tenn., lost its fellowship hall to fire and sustained damage to another small building.

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (BP) — The arrests of two teenagers in connection with deadly wildfires in and around Gatlinburg, Tenn., have provoked expressions of sadness from three local Southern Baptist congregations that lost buildings in the blaze.

The three Gatlinburg churches — Roaring Fork Baptist Church, First Baptist Church and Banner Baptist Church — also report God’s continued work in their midst, including at least four first-time professions of faith in Christ over the past two weeks.

Authorities announced the arrests Dec. 7, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. The teens, whose names and genders have not been released, have been charged with aggravated arson in connection with a fire that started Nov. 23, killing at least 14 people and destroying more than 2,400 homes and businesses. [Read more…]

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‘IT’S GOING TO BE A LONG HAUL HERE’ IN GATLINBURG

By Connie D. Bushey
News Editor, Baptist and Reflector

View from back of Roaring Fork Baptist Church in Gatlinburg. The church and vehicle were destroyed by wildfires which swept through Sevier County on Nov. 18.

View from back of Roaring Fork Baptist Church in Gatlinburg. The church and vehicle were destroyed by wildfires which swept through Sevier County on Nov. 28.

GATLINBURG — On day nine following the horrific wildfires, residents are finally being allowed to visit their homes in damaged areas, reported Wes Jones, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief specialist. They have to come back out every night.

Gatlinburg Mayor Mike Werner said that On Thursday, Dec. 8, residents who still have homes can return and the Downtown Parkway will reopen to the general public Friday at 7 a.m.

“As more people get back to their homes and see their needs” Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief (TBDR) will be able to help, said Jones. So most Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief volunteers will be needed in the days, weeks, and months to come, he predicted. [Read more…]

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FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN

Photo gallery.

-Photos by Chris Turner

  • View from back of Roaring Fork Baptist Church in Gatlinburg. The church and vehicle were destroyed by wildfires which swept through Sevier County on Nov. 28.
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GATLINBURG FIRES CREATE CHALLENGES

Tennessee Baptists find ways to minister in Sevier County

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

Kim McCroskey, right, pastor of Roaring Forks Baptist Church, describes the destruction to Joe Sorah, left, of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board staff. In the background is Wes Turner, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief specialist.

Kim McCroskey, right, pastor of Roaring Forks Baptist Church, describes the destruction to Joe Sorah, left, of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board staff. In the background is Wes jones, Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief specialist.

SEVIERVILLE — Though homes, businesses, and churches in Sevier County are in ruins, residents of the area know it could have been much worse.

“Had it not rained the night of the fire (Nov. 28), Sevier County would not be here,” said Robert Nichols, director of missions for Sevier County Association of Baptists.

And God did not stop there. Additional rain on Nov. 29-30 quenched the fires that devastated the Gatlinburg area.

As of Dec.1 there were seven confirmed deaths and an estimated 45 people injured. Additionally, numerous people are still unaccounted for. The Tennessee National Guard spent all day Nov. 29 and Nov. 30 searching for victims or survivors. [Read more…]

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SEVIER COUNTY CHURCHES WILL REBOUND

By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector

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More than 14,000 people were evacuated from Gatlinburg, when a series of wildfires threatened buildings across the area. -Screen capture from Twitter

GATLINBURG — Though the wildfires that swept through the community Nov. 28 destroyed or damaged three Baptist churches, leaders are not discouraged.

Of the three churches affected by the fire, Roaring Fork Baptist was completely destroyed, losing its sanctuary and all of its other buildings. Pastor Kim McCroskey noted that while the buildings are gone, the church (the people) remains.

“We’re hopeful. We will persevere and we will rise out of the ashes,” he predicted. “For whatever reason God let it happen. We’ll rebuild and will be better than ever for His glory.” [Read more…]

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WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE GATLINBURG FIRES

By Randy C. Davis
TBC Executive Director

Randy C. Davis

Randy C. Davis

Dear Tennessee Baptists,

You no doubt know of the devastating news this week coming out of Gatlinburg and Sevier County. As someone who called that area home for 20 years, it has been especially gutting to me to hear the reports. Jeanne and I have so many friends in that area and know personally many of the families affected. Some have lost everything.

However, I want you to know I have never been prouder to be a Tennessee Baptist. Because your churches gave through the Cooperative Program and Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions, Tennessee Baptists were on the scene responding to people’s spiritual and physical needs less than 24 hours after the fires destroyed lives and property. In fact, Tennessee Baptist Mission Board missionaries were able to get to the sites of three of our Tennessee Baptists churches ministering to pastors while their destroyed buildings still smoldered. [Read more…]

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