LOWNDES Co., Ga. (WTXL) -- Members of the Ousley Church of God in Christ held their first service at a neighboring church.
Their 129 year old church was burned down Christmas Day and investigators say it could be arson.
“For 129 years, you have worked and you have developed and you have committed yourself to a place and all of a sudden in less than an hour it's fell on the ground, burned down.”
Pastor Curtis Sermons says emotions run deep after his historic church went up in flames. “It's just like you lost part of yourself.”
Members of the congregation are echoing the sadness; they say their hearts are broken.
“It's like they destroyed a family,” said church member Maria Holt.
“It's just devastating. Everything's just gone,” said church member Diane Denton.
The congregation met at neighboring Redland Baptist Church for their first Sunday after their church was burned down Christmas morning.
“We just have to remember the good times we had there and the church was just a building,” said church member Linda Warod.
“Even when we build a new church we will always carry that church in our hearts,” said Holt.
Members say they plan to rebuild in the same location. They say they want the replacement to be larger so they are able to welcome more into their family.
“We're going to go forward. We're going to rebuild and we're going to be a happy family like we were,” said Holt.
Members are accepting donations to rebuild through the Bank of the Ozarks. They can be reached at 229-242-7758.