Fire Destroys South Georgia Tabernacle

Tifton, Ga.—A fire of undetermined origin erupted on Thursday afternoon, April 21, destroying the tabernacle worship center on the Church of God campground in Tifton, Georgia.

Images on multiple news and social media outlets showed a fully-engulfed structure with flames shooting out of the front and back of the facility. The building was unoccupied at the time and no one was injured. Photos after the fire was extinguished show the building as a complete loss.

The tabernacle on the South Georgia Church of God campground goes up in flames (click photo to enlarge)

By late afternoon news of the devastating fire had spread across social media with hundreds expressing their sorrow at the loss of a place that holds cherished memories for thousands of people who have experienced camp meetings, youth camps, and other events in and around the nearly 50-year-old structure.

“I am stunned and saddened by the fire at the tabernacle in Tifton, Georgia,” Terry Hart, overseer of the Church of God for the state of Alabama posted. “I began my full-time ministry in South Georgia…I love this place! It is almost like the passing away of a dear old friend.”

Church of God General Overseer Tim Hill said, “While we are very thankful that no one was injured, we are heartbroken that a sacred space has been damaged by fire. Our prayers go out to Administrative Bishop Gary Lewis and the leadership in South Georgia as they deal with this devastating loss.”

The tabernacle was to be the site of “Junior Talent” this coming weekend with competition in several categories. An adjacent building displayed a registration banner in anticipation of the hundreds of young people expected for the event, which has now been postponed to May 13-14 at the Azalea City Church of God in Valdosta, Ga.

A message on the South Georgia Facebook page stated, “We understand your kids have worked so hard for this event, and we are devasted it’s not working out as planned. But our goal will still be to celebrate each competitor with their God-given talents.”

This is the second major fire that has affected the Church of God in South Georgia this year. On February 2, the Douglas Christian Fellowship church in Douglas, Ga. was also destroyed by fire.

Less than 24 hours after the fire, no cause had been determined pending a full investigation by fire inspectors. Further updates will be posted as warranted on the South Georgia Church of God Facebook page and other outlets.

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