Despite the tragic fire that burned down an historic PCG church in Cadillac, Michigan, Pastors Will and Pat Markham share the encouraging news that "the Church is still standing!"
In the early dark morning hours of June 25, 2022, four different fire departments reached the blazing shell of what had been the 20-year home to Revival Center Church (PCG) in Cadillac, Michigan. The grief was stunning. The place where we had married young couples, dedicated babies, fed the needy, buried our parents, led many to salvation and Holy Spirit baptism, celebrated anniversaries, honored our missionaries, held festivals and conferences, learned and grew in the Word, worshiped, repented and poured our hearts out to God—the house that had been home to our memories—was now suddenly gone.
Reporters, neighbors, and friends from far and wide came to stare at the charred remains in disbelief. As word spread, calls and condolences came from everywhere. So did the questions. Why did God let this happen? How did the fire start? What were we going to do now? Did we have insurance enough to cover? Would we rebuild on the same spot?
Pastor Will Markham’s comforting response was,
“The Church is fine; we just lost a building.”
It was Saturday and we would have service tomorrow morning. We have a no cancelation policy when it comes to Sunday services. We pulled our camp meeting tent out of storage, and people came from everywhere to help set it up. Neighboring churches started calling and bringing in chairs and sound equipment, and a local lumber yard gave us material to build a stage. By Sunday morning, the homeless but strong church gathered in the tent to worship.
The following days were a blur of inspections and assessments as we tried to itemize what had been lost, talk with insurance agents, and field non-stop calls.
By Sunday, July 10 (two weeks after the fire), we had gotten past the shock and were already beginning to see the hand of God moving. That Sunday was a memorial time where we shared testimonies of what God had done for us in that building. Most of our huge stained-glass mural had melted in the fire; yet some pieces were found, painstakingly cleaned, prepared, and bagged up to be given to anyone who wanted them. That chapter of Revival Center’s history had ended abruptly, and we had been thrust into a new one.
But with our mourning also came the first testimonies of how God was providing. The architect who had drawn the plans for the building we had lost told us that his company would draw the new plans for free. (That’s a great time to stop and shout!) We had many sizable donations from unexpected places to help not only with the rebuild but with “whatever we needed in the meantime.” God was already providing.
We also were relieved to learn that the inspectors had determined the fire had begun with some corroded underground wiring. There was no foul play, so we could start the cleanup immediately. Our insurance had been adequate, but rather than spend so much on hiring a demolition company, the congregation just rolled up their sleeves, rented and borrowed equipment when necessary, and cleared the site within three weeks. Their amazing generosity ultimately saved us about $25,000 (another great time to jump and shout)!
Prior to the fire, we had undergone some remodeling and were already planning to expand our facilities. While we had insurance to cover what we lost, we know we need to build bigger. As the fundraising phase begins, we are also trying to secure some empty retail space nearby for temporary housing. (You can only stay in a tent for so long in Northern Michigan.) By the grace of God, we are continuing with our many programs, so whatever space we secure will need to be outfitted for those ministry needs for the next 18–24 months.
In addition to the food pantry that continues to serve 80-100 families from a parking lot and truck every Wednesday Morning and the Christian education programs meeting under tents for now, Revival Center Church was also the meeting place for many community programs such as Narcotics Anonymous, Cadillac Community Chorus, Neighborhood Watch, Cadillac Association of Homeschooled Athletes (CAHA), and Classical Conversations (CC) Christian Homeschool Community
To keep us united and encouraged through this devastating process, our pastor has been communicating with members daily via a two to three minute Facebook blog. He has also connected with our community through invitations to radio shows and television and newspaper interviews.
The love and support from our community, the Michigan District PCG, and friends and family far and wide have been a salve for the soul. Walking through this experience has been a challenging and sad season for our body of believers, but we are full of faith and expect our God to see us through it all. Pastor Markham reminds us, “We only know how to go forward.” We believe in the power of prayer and would appreciate yours.
Want to ask a question, tell a story, or share what you've learned? Let us know!Connect with our Team