Hope rises from the ashes of Perry church

It’s been four days since a historic church burned down in Perry, Illinois.

Now members of the community are making plans to remove the rubble that remains.

Kristine Camphouse spent almost every Sunday as a kid entering the front doors of the Church of Christ in Perry, Illinois.

“It was a weekly occasion and, you know, Sunday school and church and Sunday dinner afterwards,” Kristine said.

Looking at old pictures instantly reminds Kristine of cherished memories inside of the church along with the harsh reality that it’s gone.

“Throughout the decades, it’s been a large congregation and it was very active within the community,” Kristine said.

Kristine and her family were dedicated members of the congregation.

Her parents maintained the church for several years.

“With their passing, that seems to have come our direction. So our role at this point was to make sure that the building was viable,” Bill Camphouse, Kristineâ??s husband, said.

Services ended at Church of Christ about four or five years ago.

Since then, Kristine and Bill have watched over it.

Bill still can’t believe it’s been reduced to nothing but ashes and debris.

“When I sat up there the other night at three o’clock watching the smoke die down; sort of have this mental image of what it was like walking in the front door,” Bill said.

A few pieces of the church have been recovered since Wednesday’s fire, but Kristine hopes the church bell will be found during the cleanup.

Kristine said it’s an important part of the church’s legacy.

“The last part of the church standing was the main tower with the bell house and it was pushed down at the very end,” Kristine said.

Kristine said it will take some time before this village community will move past this tragedy.

“I’m sure many things are running through the minds of many community members,” Kristine said.

Kristine said the community has contacted the church’s insurance company.

Now they’re waiting to receive bids to help pay for its clean up.

October 5th 2014

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