Historic Lebanon church hit by fire seeks help for children’s pageant, ministry

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Historic Lebanon church hit by fire seeks help for children’s pageant, ministry

A historic church known for its good deeds in the community is now asking for the community’s help to continue its ministry.

Bethel AME Church was hit by a devastating fire early Wednesday that severely damaged the sanctuary and community room.

Worship services and a children’s Christmas Eve pageant are short essential items.

“We are grateful for the kindness our community has shown in the hours since the tragic fire,” the Rev. Karen Schaeffer, pastor of Bethel, stated in a Saturday news release.

“After a prayer service that evening, the church met and made a plan to get us through the next couple of weeks,” Schaeffer said.

For Bethel’s worship services, the church, at 111 N. Cherry St., is in need of 20 children’s Bibles, 25 NRSV study Bibles, communion trays and supplies; altar vestments, clergy robes, advent supplies, rolling suitcases and plastic totes.

The church fire destroyed the sanctuary along with the costumes and props for the children’s program. The Lebanon Theatre Company at 10 S. Mechanic St. has opened its doors to Bethel so the church can use its space for rehearsals and the Christmas Eve performance, Schaeffer said.

Costume List: children’s choir robes; 2-3 sheep (toddlers, preschool); 3 angels (first- and third-graders); 3 Pharisees (medium-sized boys); Mary and Joseph (children) and shepherds (2-3 adults).

Props List: Christmas tree; scrolls; manger; baby Jesus doll; shepherds crook or staff; stick horse; fireplace background; and poster board for signs.

Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1858 and its church building dedicated in 1861.

Check and cash donations are being accepted at Sharefax Credit Union in the name of the Bethel Fire Donation Fund at 1550 Genntown Drive, Lebanon, 45036.

Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

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