Coventry Hills Church of Christ goes up in flames after lightning strike

NORTH COVENTRY TOWNSHIP, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The smell of smoke is still heavy in the air after a fire broke out at Coventry Hills Church of Christ in North Coventry Township, Pennsylvania on Saturday night. Fire officials confirm lightning struck the church which sparked the blaze around 10:30 p.m.

"It was that one night where we were all in bed by 8," said Abigail Rymon, the minister's wife.

While Abigail Rymon and her family were fast asleep, lightning struck the church's steeple which is connected to their home. Rymon's beloved church, where her husband serves as the minister, was on fire.

Firefighters got her family out of the church parsonage safely as heavy smoke continued to rise from Coventry Hills Church of Christ on South Hanover Road.

The family watched their church burn throughout the night. The tilted steeple eventually came crashing down as flames burst through the roof.

"No one was hurt, and that was the blessed thing," said Rymon.

Hours after the fire was put out, it was time for Sunday morning's service. The church gathered for Sunday worship, but in the Fellowship Hall, because the sanctuary was damaged, covered with insulation.

"I've never been one for physical aspects of the church, you know a building's a building, you meet there, but the church is the people," said Rymon.

Rymon said dealing with the aftermath of the fire has brought her church community closer together, and made them stronger.

"I almost think it's a catalyst for us, something that will spring us forward to do more work in the community, and will bond us closer together," Rymon said.

The church will continue to meet on Sundays in the Fellowship Hall until the sanctuary is cleaned up and a new roof is put on. There's no electricity in the church right now.
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