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Church damaged by fire
The sign outside the Full Gospel Truth Church/Healing Restoration Center advertises healing for the broken. In theory, that goes for whoever stole and torched a car next to the church, resulting in fire damage to the church roof.

"We want these vandals to know we are praying for them," said Pastor Brian Blevins.

On Saturday, Dec. 29, somone rolled a stolen car up an alley next to the church at 1112 Vito Avenue and left it there. Blevins almost called to have it towed away, but didn't because he thought there would be nobody available that day to deal with it. He now wishes he had because at approximately 6 p.m. that day somone set fire to the car. Flames shot up the exterior of the church and into the roof.

Ceres firefighters responded to the fire and had to cut a hole in the roof to access the attic. The church's nursery and music equipment room off the sanctuary were damaged.

Two years ago Pastor Blevins and his wife, Annette, came to Ceres from Pixley in an attempt to get the church off the ground. For their efforts they have about 20 persons in worship - in a sanctuary that could seat 300 - hardly enough to support the church. The building was not insured against fire damage.

"It has been hard at times but God has always seen us through," said Pastor Blevins. The fire, he said, is a temporary setback in the building of the church. "We are a church of faith believers. We believe in the power of prayer and the Holy Ghost. This fire was just another chance for God to show his glory and his power."

Members climbed on the roof after the fire and put up a temporary patch of sheet plastic to keep any rains out. The following Sunday, worship went on as planned. But the power was turned off the building and the congregation huddled together to stay warm in a room full of the smell of smoke.

Blevins is hoping and praying someone in the community can help repair the 12-foot hole. One estimate to repair the damage came in at $10,000.

He may be reached at 577-3775.