Community rallies around historic church badly damaged by fire

Bethel AME Church before the fire (Facebook)
Bethel AME Church before the fire (Facebook)

LEBANON, OH (FOX19) - The community is rallying around a 171-year-old church badly damaged by a fire this week.

Donations are being collected to help Bethel AME Church off North Cherry Street still keep serving the needy this holiday season.

Businesses such as Scott Hines Plumbing, Massie Township firefighters and other residents donated checks Friday morning for Bethel AME Church.

"Not only did they lose their church, but they also lost their food, gifts and supplies to help needy families for the holidays," said Massie Township Fire Captain Donald Fugate after he dropped a check off.

Church leaders thanked the community in a post on their Facebook page Thursday.

"We are grateful for the kindness our community has shown in the hours since the tragic fire that seriously damaged Bethel AME Church's sanctuary and community room. After prayer service yesterday we met and made a plan to get us through the next couple of weeks."

There's several ways the community can help:

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