LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Investigators are still trying to figure out the cause of a suspicious fire that gutted a local church.

The fire Thursday at the Bethesda Temple Apostolic Church in the 4900 block of Crenshaw Boulevard didn’t keep parishioners from finding an interesting new place to worship.

Today was the first Sunday service since the fire and one local business owner transformed his restaurant into a church to help out.

CBS2’s Louisa Hodge spoke to parishioners, church officials and the restaurant owner who saved the day.

“God is in us. Not in the bricks and mortar,”  said Dr. Melba Coleman, church consultant.

An organist played on a singed keyboard…parishioners see the instrument as a symbol of survival. They are also grateful that the fire occurred when no one was inside.

“It could have happened when we were in there, and we’re most grateful for that,” said Shirley Green, Church Secretary.

Sunday services were held inside Dulan’s Restaurant, giving a whole new meaning to soul food.

“I was here the morning after the fire and I saw the look on their faces and I didn’t even think about it, I had the space, I just offered it,” said Greg Dulan, owner of the restaurant.

Eighty firefighters battled the blaze and managed to save some important documents.

Assistant Pastor Jason Malveaux says, “A lot of people baptismal records, baby dedication records, the time and date they were filled with the holy spirit, those records were saved. All of that was saved.”

The church will rebuild. In the meantime, officials say they will hold services in a house next to the church.


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