COWPENS, S.C. (WSPA) – “Out of the Ashes” is labeled outside of the Cowpens First Baptist Church. It burned down to the ground December 26, 2020.

Almost two years later, it has been rebuilt and is now open to the community.

“When tragedy comes, and the fire was a tragedy. I mean, it destroyed everything that was here, when that tragedy comes, God’s people pull together,” said Reverend Kermit Morris.

Morris said the church held so many memories.

“Buildings where they were baptized, maybe, or had a wedding, a funeral or their parents were here,” he said.

Through this experience, he said they learned that what makes a church isn’t the building, but the people.

“Nobody can ever take those memories from you. Fire can’t take them from you,” said the Reverend.

Cowpens Fire Chief Tony Blanton helped put out the fire back in 2020.

“The church fire was the biggest fire that we’ve had in a long time in the city of Cowpens,” he said.

Firefighters worked more than eight hours to put out the flames.

“It was pretty heart-tugging to watch a building of that magnitude burn to the ground,” said Chief Blanton.

He said the church used to be 34,000 square feet and the fire was accidental. He said they narrowed the cause down to an area out of the boiler room.

“At the time of the fire, I wasn’t a member of the church. I actually didn’t go to church anywhere, but the fire kind of pulled me to help in any way that I could,” he said.

Even without their sanctuary, Reverend Morris said they didn’t stop worshipping.

“We worshipped in the Family Life Center, which is a metal building right behind us,” he said.

Last Sunday, the newly built church reopened, with parts of the old church interwoven. Like, the glass-stained window, the cross that Reverend Morris said a firefighter helped salvage, the glass in their offering plates and the Lord’s Supper Table.

“It burned inside of it but didn’t burn the outside,’ said the Reverend. “The top has some scars from the fire still on it. Like us as Christians, we all have scars in our life.”

Reverend Morris said they’re very thankful to have this new church. The church cost $4.5 million to rebuilt and he said they were able to pay for it through donations, offerings and insurance.