Berks

Hamburg church after fire: 'God will get us through'

HAMBURG, Pa. - A fire burned a hole in the heart of one of Hamburg's church communities. Flames destroyed a building belonging to Victory Chapel early Saturday morning.

Brenda Shiffer's son has been a parishioner there for a decade.

"We were butchering Saturday and when he heard, we were devastated," said Shiffer.

The church's fellowship building in the area of North Fourth and Franklin streets suffered major damage, but as Shiffer pointed out, some of the building's most sacred features survived.

"The stained windows are intact, which I think is a blessing, because they can always look on that and say that was their church windows," said Shiffer.

The stained glass is about all that was spared; the building's been deemed a total loss. Officials said it was likely an electrical fire, and an accident.

"It's a very small congregation," said Shiffer. "They do a lot. They go into Reading, and so that Saturday, he was supposed to go in. They teach people about the Bible, about God's teachings. The trip down there, they had to cancel."

The burned building was Victory Chapel's fellowship hall, where they used to host meetings and events while they worshipped in the church with the steeple next door, but heating issues in that building recently forced them into the fellowship hall.

In the meantime, they're renting a church in Lebanon County until their main building's heater is fixed. Pastor Alex Alvarez said the parishioners are in good spirits.

"We don't look at this as something that is really bad. It's something that happened along the way," said Alvarez. "God is with us. He will get us through."


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