A fire nearly destroyed everything inside a 150-year-old Massachusetts Baptist church Tuesday night, except for one painting which managed to withstand the flames.
Although nearly everything inside First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, was reduced to rubble, rescue crews uncovered a painting of Jesus Christ. The painting had a few droplets of water on it but otherwise remained unscathed.
The painting, which hung outside the front doors of the church, depicted Jesus Christ dressed in a white robe and standing with hands outstretched.
“It’s a beautiful sign of hope and a reminder that Jesus is with us,” parishioner Maria Kakolowski told Boston 25. “I am personally just taking it as a sign and a reminder that the Jesus, the Christ that we serve is still alive and even though our church building is gone, our church is here. The God that we serve is still here.”
The work of art has found a home inside a parishioner’s residence while crews continued to dismantle the remains of the historic church on Wednesday.
No official cause of the fire had been determined, but residents say a lightning strike hit the church’s steeple. The town’s fire chief, Michael Sullivan, told the Boston Globe the “extent of the fire on arrival was just too great for us to stop it.”
No injuries were reported, but the church suffered more than $1 million in damage, Sullivan said.
A GoFundMe page was created Wednesday to support the church. As of Thursday afternoon, the page raised nearly $7,000 of its $50,000 goal.
The church was first built around 1872 and was reconstructed in 1912 after a fire destroyed the original church, according to the National Register of Historic Places.