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Sister church raises money for razed Bethel AME

Posted at 12:56 AM, May 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-18 00:56:58-04

LEBANON, Ohio -- Renee Forrester lost the church she'd attended since childhood just days before Christmas, when the 156-year-old Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church went up in flames against a backdrop of bitter December cold.

"It was horrible," she said. "We had just been in church that Sunday."

The small, tight-knit congregation has been raising money to rebuild the structure ever since, and a Thursday night spaghetti dinner benefit brought 600 donors to the cause.

Sister congregation Bethany United Church of Christ organized the event, which attendee Reilly Hoover said was proof of the "awesome community" that exists in her hometown.

Bethany United organizer Brooke Handley said she simply wanted to help a church that had helped many others in the Lebanon community over the course of its existence.

"In a world where you kind of wake up every day and it's a hard thing, it's kind of cynical and there is not a lot of good stuff going on, when you see this amount of people coming through and supporting a local community church, it's fantastic," she said.

Watch the video above to hear more from people who showed up to support Bethel A.M.E.