BY EARNEST WINSTON
The Cincinnati Enquirer
-- Shiloh Community Baptist Church, gutted about a month ago by a possible arson fire, soon will be reborn.
The congregation agreed this week to rebuild the church on Keefer Road, near U.S. 25. The church plans to purchase the land to build a 4,800- to 5,000-square-foot building, two miles north of the former church.
"It's just a beautiful spot for a church," the Rev. Floyd Race said Thursday. "If we don't have to do a zone change and the weather permits, we would like to get started within the next couple of weeks . . . we're looking at two to three months (of construction)."
An early-morning fire Oct. 30 destroyed the 123-year-old wooden church on Shiloh Road in southern Grant County. Since then, the 60-member congregation has been meeting in the Meadowview Community Center in Dry Ridge.
Sunday will be the congregation's last day at Meadowview. After that, parishioners will meet at Farm Bureau Insurance on Helton Road in Williamstown.
The church will hold its first fund-raiser at 7 p.m. Saturday at Quatros Inc., 14 School St. The benefit will include chicken dinners and continuous live gospel music. Five dollar donations will be accepted.
The artists will be local performers and musicians from Indianapolis and Columbus, Ind.
Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church in Jonesville, also destroyed by fire Oct. 19, is having a benefit auction fund-raiser at 6 p.m. today at Quatros Inc.
The state Fire Marshal's office, Kentucky State Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating both fires.
"It's going to be great to have a new church, but it's not going to be as good as the Old Shiloh," said Crystal Eibeck, 17, a lifelong member at Shiloh. "There's so many memories -- Christmas plays, vacation Bible schools.
"At first, everybody was grieving over (the fire). But now, we're moving on. We're going to see a lot of good come out of this," said Crystal, of Walton.
The Rev. Mr. Race said his congregants have chosen not to dwell on the fire.
"The Lord has sure been good to us. Since the church burned, we've had a place to worship. I think the people have really handled it well, not feeling sorry for themselves. We're looking ahead," he said.
"People have been so good, so supportive -- other churches, other denominations." The minister asked "to thank all the merchants and all of the churches that have called and supported and that have donated to help us. They'll never know what it's meant to us."