Walton church rising from ashes

By Perry Russom

June 10, 2014 Updated Jun 10, 2014 at 6:50 PM EDT

Walton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) A church in Walton is starting to rebuild after a fire burned it to the ground.

The First Baptist Church broke ground on its new place of worship over the weekend.

"If God calls us to something, he will provide for it," said Rev. Jay O'Connor, pastor of the church.

The lot at the corner of Townsend and Platt Street has been empty for more than three years.

In 2011, flames torched the First Baptist Church in Walton. Investigators said the fire was set intentionally.

"The church was the people and we are still the Church," said O'Connor.

He said the fire may have taken their building, but it didn't take away their faith.

"We went right into a time of seeking God and visioning and asking the questions of why are we here and what are we called to do," said O'Connor.

He said they were called to rebuild the church.

Phase one of the construction calls for a multipurpose room, classrooms, offices and a nursery.

Phase two is the sanctuary.

They have enough money to build phase one of the project, but phase two? That's where faith comes in.

"We don't exactly know where that will come from, but we trust in him that it will happen," said O'Connor.

Construction on the new Church started about two weeks ago and so far the workers have been able to lay down the foundation.

"As phoenix rising from the ashes, we've got a plan, a way ahead to start serving the community and our faith." said Charlie Gregory, a member of the church.

The opening of the new church is planned for late October.

"We believe that the community will be much better served by our congregation because we will have a facility that will enable us to be there for them," said O'Connor.

To come up with enough money to build the sanctuary, the church will be looking for donations.

The church is also applying for grants.

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