NewsPolk County


Sanctuary a total loss after fire rips through long-standing Bartow church

Main Street Baptist Church in Bartow
Posted at 8:07 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 20:07:24-04

BARTOW, Fla. — A Bartow church sanctuary with a long-standing connection to the community, was destroyed by an early morning fire but hope is not lost.

“The metal roof was burning. It was open and on fire, aflame Sunday morning,” said Laura Simpson, a member of Main Street Baptist Church.

When Simpson arrived to church Sunday morning, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

“It took a moment to let it all process and sink in, what I was looking at. It didn’t seem real,” Simpson said.

The sanctuary of Main Street Baptist Church, was gutted by an overnight fire.

“Lots of family memories, take place here. I’ve also played the piano here. I’ve worked in sound,” Simpson said.

She and so many have memories from this church which has been a part of the Bartow community for nearly a century. Fire Marshall said the electrical fire started in the attic around 3 a.m. The basement suffered severe water damage.

“It was like a war zone in our sanctuary when it was done,” said Adam Mayfield, Lead Pastor of Main Street Baptist Church.

Mayfield said he’s usually at the church around 3:30 a.m. preparing his sermon, but this Sunday, he was home with his children.

“It could've been that I could've been there, but God’s timing of everything is perfect and because of that I was not in the building,” Mayfield said.

They had just upgraded their lighting and technology to improve online streaming. Though all of that is destroyed, their faith has not wavered. The plan is to rise from the ashes and rebuild. The pastor put a new message on the sign outside, which reads, “God is still God and God is still good.”

“We believe no matter what happens and our circumstance in life, our life is turned upside down, socially with pandemics and all these things, that through all of it, our God is still God, and our God is still good,” Mayfield said.