INVESTIGATION IS UNDERWAY FOLLOWING A HISTORIC CHURCH CATCHING ON FIRE. IT HAPPENED ON SATURDAY AT THE LEVENTON CHAPEL FREE-WILL BAPTIST CHURCH NEAR STATONSBURG. MUTLIPLE AGENCIES WORKED TO PUT OUT THE BLAZE AND THE SBI IS HELPING OUT WITH THE INVESTIGATION. TODAY, NINE ON YOUR SIDE’S DOMINIQUE MOODY SURVEYED THE DAMAGES WITH THE PASTOR. HE JOINS US NOW FROM THE W-N-C-T NEWSROOM. DOMINIQUE, HOW ARE CHURCH MEMBERS REACTING TONIGHT? ANGIE..MANY ARE STILL IN SHOCK FOLLOWING THE FIRE. FOR MORE THAN 100 YEARS, LEVENTON HAS SERVED AS A PILLAR IN THE AREA. WHILE EMOTIONS ARE STILL HIGH… PASTOR ELBERT FORBES SAYS FAITH AND STRENGTH IS WHAT’S CARRYING THE CONGREGATION. JUST OFF OF HIGHWAY 58 IN STATONSBURG SITS A HIDDEN GEM. “we have deep roots here, sentimental values too,” ELDER ELBERT FORBES STILL CALLS LEVENTON CHAPEL FREE-WILL BAPTIST HOME. DESPITE THE BURNT BRICKS, PIECES OF WOOD AND LEFTOVER RUBBLE. “a greater appreciation, you know for things that God has blessed us with and to utilize it.” BUILT IN 1868, THE CHURCH has survived IHURRICANES, FLOODS, SLAVERY AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. “to come out of slavery and to the reconstruction, you know period.” “they really took a stand for what was right and took the risk of really losing their lives.” PASTOR FORBES GREW UP IN THE CHURCH AND HAS YET TO FORGET THOSE THAT CAME BEFORE HIM. “the ones that struggled so hard to where it is now…and now it’s gone as far as from a physical point of view.” PHYSICALLY YES, THE CHURCH IS MISSING A ROOF, A FEW BRICKS AND A FRONT DOOR. IT’S THE OPTIMISM FROM LEVENTON’S MEMBERS…. THAT’S LOOKING AT THIS DESTRUCTION AS A POSITIVE. “even in the midst of sorrow, we still have a sense of peace of joy.” “we have members that are faithful and dedicated.” A SENSE OF FAMILY AND SUPPORT IS FLOWING IN FROM OTHERS INSIDE THE COUNTY. “when I say it’s family and when I say family, in Greene County…most people cut off at maybe 3rd or 4th cousin at the most…but we go all the way to 10th-12th, you know.” WITH THAT SMILE AND A LITTLE BIT OF RESILIENCY, FORBES SAYS THIS TOO SHALL PASS. “determined and to move forward…so the crisis that we’re dealing with now is going to make us better and stronger.” “by the grace of God, we’re going to move to higher heights.” IN THE NEWSROOM– DOMINIQUE MOODY, 9OYS. A NATIONAL SURVEY

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