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Hope Springs Anew

It's been almost a year since wildfires burned over 120,000 acres around Possum Kingdom, destroyed 167 homes, and several churches.However, members of the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church near Strawn are committed to their future.
Last April, fires around Possum Kingdom scorched more than 120,000 acres, 167 homes, and several churches; including the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church.

But one year later, signs of new life are sprouting.

"The process has been long and frustrating for some folks," said Reverend Starr Bowen, "yet persistence and dedication of the people in the Church has finally given rise to this new structure you see."

Work on the new building began in January, and even though it's not officially open just yet, church members gathered at the site to celebrate Easter Sunday.

It was the first meeting at the site since the fires.

The previous building had stood for over 100 years, and current church goers wanted to try and re-capture that history.

"Folks wanted to rebuild the church as close to what burned down as possible, and that's what you see," said Bowen.

The sanctuary is laid out the same as it was before, even the hymnal books are the same.

But one thing is noticeably different; the man leading the flock.

Reverend Bowen took over the congregation in June of last year, and has made it his mission to help preserve the church's country culture.

"These are people that have been very independent and also very persistent in their faith for at least a century if you count the family history," explained Bowen.

Bowen said he will rely on his more than 20 years worth of missionary work to help continue rebuilding the church, but also said he will try to learn from the past so history doesn't repeat itself.

"We kind of made a mistake in letting our beautiful cedar trees hang down over the previous building and folks could take a picture of it and think of the church in the valley by the wild-wood," said Bowen, "but that wasn't such a great idea when the fire started burning."

But out of the ashes, hope has risen for Cedar Springs.

A hope Bowen, and his flock, are committed to protecting for future generations.
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