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The Berkshires

Community bands together after fire destroys church

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Albany/HV: Community bands together after fire destroys church
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Members of a church in Philmont are recovering from a fire that left them without a building. That is until the community stepped in. YNN's Madeleine Rivera found out how they banded together during this difficult time.

PHILMONT, N.Y. -- The people of Philmont are still trying to grasp this image of the Reformed Church. Darkened wood panels, boarded up and broken windows are just some of what remains of the building that stood in the village for more than a hundred years.

"I'm feeling really bad right now. Tuesday night, I was devastated when the fire was burning," said Linda Guntert, a Philmont Reformed Church member.

The fire left many of the congregation members without a place of worship -- at least temporarily.

"The firefighters that day were unbelievable and the amount of support from the community," said Linda's daughter, Wendy.

Wendy Guntert showed me welcome signs at the Philmont United Methodist Church. It's one of the two remaining churches in the village that offered to open its doors to the displaced members of the Reformed Church.

"We're just glad to be able to share our space and being able to worship with them. Most of the folks out there, we work on many projects together. We're family," said Rev. Ken Coddington of the Philmont United Methodist Church.

Many of the worshippers told me how thankful they are to be able to hold their service here at the Methodist Church not far from where the Reformed Church used to stand. They say it shows the support of the community. But, they've been getting support from all over the country.

"We've been getting responses from all over. I got a phone call from Arizona," said Rev. Dan Herrick of the Reformed Church.

And though members say there are some things they'll miss about the old church...

"Sitting in the same pews, we always sat in the same pews," said Linda Guntert.

They're thinking positive as the recovery process begins.

"The church is the building. And, we are the people. We'll get there," said Guntert.

While members of the Reformed Church are still assessing the damages, they say they hope to rebuild a church in that same location.

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