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Church Hit by Fire Feels Christmas Spirit

MILTON, Pa. — It’s been almost a month since a devastating fire raged through a church in Northumberland County. Now, in the spirit of the Christmas...

MILTON, Pa. -- It's been almost a month since a devastating fire raged through a church in Northumberland County.

Now, in the spirit of the Christmas season, Bethany United Methodist Church is receiving help from a fellow congregation across the Susquehanna River.

Fire broke out at Bethany United Methodist Church in Milton on November 26. Flames ripped through the building and it took crews hours to get it under control. The fire did thousands of dollars in damage and members of the church are just now starting to put the pieces back together.

"We're at a standstill," said Rev. Will McNeal. "There is a section that is in the sanctuary that is waiting for the insurance investigator to go through and investigate the fire to see what was the cause."

Bethany United Methodist Church won't be operational for the next 12 to 18 months so the church is holding its services at the United Methodist Church in West Milton.

Immediately after the fire, the church in West Milton reached out to Rev. McNeal and offered its space.

"It blends itself well to the Christmas story. We were cast out, we were moving and had to go someplace but West Milton, when I talked to the Pastor, Chris Mastin, and she opened her arms and said, 'Yes, please,'" Rev. McNeal said.

"It's what we are taught to do, help all of our neighbors in any place and any how you can," said Dale Strassner, a member of West Milton United Methodist Church.

Strassner says it's important to extend a helping hand because something like this could happen to anyone.

"It is a privilege to help, knowing what happened to them could easily happen here, but it hasn't, so it's good knowing we could be the helping congregation."

Officials at Bethany United Methodist Church in Milton say they are raising money to cover fire damage that insurance won't. You can donate at this GoFundMe page.