South Phoenix congregation will rebuild after church roof collapse

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Members of a south Phoenix church are glad no one was inside when the building collapsed on Wednesday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Members of a south Phoenix church are glad no one was inside when the building collapsed on Wednesday night. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The congregation includes more than 50 members who serve the community’s homeless and struggling families. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The congregation includes more than 50 members who serve the community’s homeless and struggling families. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
It's unclear what caused the collapse. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) It's unclear what caused the collapse. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Leadership has not yet decided where services will be held during the rebuilding process. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Leadership has not yet decided where services will be held during the rebuilding process. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A south Phoenix congregation is picking up the pieces after their church’s roof collapsed. Leadership at Faith Believing in God Ministries says it will rebuild.

Phoenix fire was called out Wednesday night to investigate a report of a gas explosion at the church. Then firefighters say the roof came down. The Phoenix Fire Department is trying to determine if a natural gas leak caused the collapse or if the collapse caused the gas leak.

[ORIGINAL STORY: No injuries after Phoenix church explodes, roof collapses]

“We were out here just saying, 'Thank God, praise the Lord.' And everybody was like, huh?” says church evangelist, Charletta Stuart. “Thank God and praise the Lord we were not in that building.”

Church leadership is expressing gratitude and relief. This is usually a busy time for the church as they prepare for a major event. However, members took a night off Wednesday, a decision that likely saved lives.

“Normally we would have been decorating for the church anniversary,” says Stuart. “There would have been some rehearsals going on.”

The congregation includes more than 50 members who serve the community’s homeless and struggling families. Leadership says it will continue that practice even if it means operating out of individual homes.

“They feed, they provide clothing, they provide also education for the youth, a backpack program at the start of school,” says church deacon Claude Robinson.

Robinson says there were no known issues with the building before the roof collapse. However, it is an old structure. A stamp on one outer wall says 1944.

Leadership has not yet decided where services will be held during the rebuilding process, but it says several churches have offered to help. Anyone who wants to donate to the rebuilding is urged to call Stuart at (602) 500-7412.

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