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Show hopes to raise burned church

Mary Hinds • Updated Jul 26, 2013 at 9:58 PM

Lebanon Church of God on Manier Street caught fire in November, and when the smoke cleared, all that remained were the outside walls of the structure and the faith of its congregation.

To help the church, several churches, ministers and community members are working together on a benefit, the "Unity of Love Musical Extravaganza," to raise money to restore the house of worship.

Pastor Damond E. Bragg of the Holy Temple Church in Mt. Juliet is one of those helping.

"It's really the people of the community," he said. "Churches, the J.C. Hellum Funeral Home and the Civic League are all helping. The money raised will be used for whatever they need - to rebuild the church, to buy new pews or anything else they need."

Bragg said since the church burned, the congregation is meeting at the Market Street Community Center.

Soloist, church choirs, quartets and other performers were invited to join in the show.

"I might sing myself," Bragg said. "But I don't want this to be about me; I want everything to be focused on the church, but I'll do whatever I can do.

Harry Watkins is another community activist working on the benefit. He said things are coming together.

"It looks pretty good," Watkins said Thursday. "We have several choirs set to attend and it looks like participation will turn out pretty well."

He said the entire community is getting behind the church and supporting the effort to rebuild.

"We've tried to pull the community together for unity and support," Watkins said. "We want to keep the congregation together. If you wait too long, people tend to drift to other churches."

The show is free, but organizers hope to raise funds by taking an offering. Anyone who wants to donate but can't attend the show can make a contribution to rebuilding the church by contacting Wilson Bank & Trust and making a donation to the Lebanon Church of God fund.

The event Saturday from 3-5 p.m. at Heaven's View Church at 370 Coles Ferry Pike in Lebanon.

Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or maryhinds@lebanondemocrat.com.

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