Church congregation stays strong following church collapse

- An investigation into the collapse of a church in Central Phoenix Wednesday night is still underway.

As of Thursday, authorities are till not sure if it was a gas leak that lead to the church's collapse, or if the collapse caused the gas leak. The family-owned church, however, does a lot of community outreach for people in need, and it's been in the area for years.

Although the building is crumbled, the spirit of those who call this church home are not. 

"It's a shock feeling, but again, I just thank god because if it wasn't for god, we could have been in there," said church secretary Charletta Stuart. "It just makes you look over it and say hey you know what, we need to stop taking it for granted and we need to thank god for our lives everyday."    

Both Stuart and the church's Deacon of Administration, Claude Robinson, say the 50-plus member congregation hsa been getting ready for a three-day anniversary event. They've been at the church most of the week, but took Wednesday off.

"It's a blessing in disguise," said Robinson. "It's the way we want to say it because it could have been one of the nights where they hold the prayer meeting or bible study."

The two say other ministries have reached out to help them. Although they're unsure when they'll be able to reopen their doors, they say their ministry will continue, building or no building.

"We can always go back to the old days, and the old days is where our late pastor did," said Stuart. "She started it in her home, so if we have to move it to that place again, that's what we'll do."    

Robinson says before this happened, there was nothing wrong with the building that they knew of. THe church building, however, is well over 60 years old. The church says they will rebuild in the same location, because they want to remain in the area and stay close to the people they serve.

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