MOCKSVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — The Sunday Easter message at Smith Grove United Methodist Church in Mocksville will carry an extra special meaning for churchgoers.  

It will be the first holiday for the congregation to gather and celebrate in the church’s new sanctuary.  

Church Pastor Darren Crotts told FOX8 that they were going to showcase the sound and lighting in the new sanctuary.

In 2019, a lightning strike started a fire that topped the steeple and tore through the sanctuary.  

It left a 25-foot hole in the ceiling, destroyed pews and burnt books.

“It was surreal to be here thinking that our church had caught fire. Everyone knew, without saying, that we were looking at a long journey ahead,” Church member Karlyn Armsworthy said.

“Everybody is going to remember this fire. They are going to remember when it happened, and they’re going to remember what happened to our church after it,” the pastor said of the incident.  

Church leaders had a plan to rebuild the inside of the sanctuary within 15 months. However, due to supply chain delays created by the pandemic, the church took 26 months to complete renovations.  

In January of 2022, the church was able to welcome churchgoers and visitors into its new sanctuary, which was made up of the original roof and stained glass windows that line its walls.  

Pastor Crotts told FOX8 that it was a journey that challenged the church and forced them to rely on faith in a way they had never dreamt of. 

“I’m just reminded that we are resurrection people. We celebrate a risen savior. We celebrate that hope, and I’m just so thankful that our folks never lost hope,” he said.   

The church plans to host a Good Friday service at 7:00 p.m. and Easter “Son”rise service at 9:00 a.m. on Easter Sunday.  

You can watch a livestreamed version on the church’s website.