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Broken house of worship

Joshua Temple Church collapses under snow, downed tree limb

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Constance Rowe, the pastor's wife at Joshua Temple Church in Northeast Washington, said she thought only the roof of her church had collapsed.

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So when she saw the rubble where her church of 19 years once stood she nearly lost her balance. "My knees buckled," she said.

"All of our equipment, the Hammond organ, the pulpit, everything is gone," Rowe said.

Rowe said emergency officials told her that the 100-year-old church could not sustain the weight of the snow and a tree limb that fell on it during the weekend blizzard.

The church was preparing for services on Sunday. Rowe said she was grateful that no one was in the building at the time of the collapse.

She said the congregation will pray at 1 p.m. Sunday at the church site and "get about the business of trying to rebuild."

The ministry is resilient, she said. "We don't plan to leave the city," said Rowe, although the ministry will need to find a temporary location. "This is where our roots are planted."

"We're looking for better days ahead," she added. "God is good. We're not discouraged."

-- Ovetta Wiggins

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