The Fire: This Time

On the one-year anniversary of the fire that burned our sanctuary, Middle Church made a beautiful pilgrimage from our temporary space at Calvary Church to the ashes and rubble where we used to worship. We broke bread beside a broken building; wept, dance and sang in the streets. We sang “O come let us adore Him,” because we know what it’s like to adore God in the shattered places. Our brokenness does not make us broken.

Resurrection is more than a story. It’s the sinew that knits together trauma and hope, offering new futures that do not ask us to leave our pain at the door but invite us to transform that hurt into something new entirely. As we approached 7th Street on 2nd Avenue, a cry rang out from the assembled crowd. Although there was no rain, a rainbow arced across the sky, hovering over our ashes. It is a sign and affirmation: Even in the valley of the shadow of death, we are never forsaken. Our faith isn’t contained within buildings—it lives in one another.

As we move through Advent, we are midwives to the fierce love in our midst. It springs and dances in our hymns. It courses through our justice education. We rejoice, not because everything is healed, but because we know we have everything we need to be whole. God did not start this fire, but God is jubilant in our rising.

This morning, as the sun rose, the fence in front of our construction site is adorned by flowers, candles and photos—ofrendas from a community and neighborhood who intimately know: We are not defined by our trauma. They shall know us by our rising.

What have you found in the fire? Grief? Tender hope? New ways of knowing and naming God? Please tell us so we can share your faith with a world that needs to hear it. You can be the love that sustains someone as they sit amid the flames.

Click the images below to see news coverage from the day!

Missed the worship celebration? Watch the recording!