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Despite fire, Canaan church keeps Christmas tradition alive

December 24, 2017 06:24 PM

CANAAN -- There were no pews, just folding chairs inside the Canaan firehouse Sunday morning.

"This is a firehouse. But we are able to bring our holiness to it," said Rev. Dr. Charles Close.

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Members of the Canaan Congregational Church and its Reverend were there because they recently lost their home church. The building went up in flames on November 6 -- along with it, years of memories for those who had been a part of the church for decades.

"My kids were baptized there. They were christened there. They got married there. The grandchildren have been christened there," said parishioner Martha Lagerwalf.

The community is still going through the process of dealing with the loss. Rev. Close says while it felt like they've lost their home, a building doesn't make a church.

"Grace happens and love happens and you don't need a building just for that," he said.

Despite the fire, parishioners say they never stopped serving the community. On Christmas Eve, they were delivering Christmas cheer and presents to a needy family in Columbia County, which is something they do every year.

"This year we found a family through Columbia County Opportunities, the community action agency in Columbia County," said parishioner Terese Platten.

Another tradition is the church's popular Christmas Eve service in the evening. They say St. Peter's Presbyterian Church was gracious enough to let them use their building in Spencertown.

"Our congregation wanted a church place where we can light candles and do those things," Close said.

They plan to rebuild. For now, they say the Christmas spirit is very much alive.

"If you live long enough you know that you don't always have perfect Christmases," Close said. "Sometimes they're good. Sometimes they're not so good. But Christ always comes."

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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