EThekwini municipality offers to help Jesus Dome

2016-06-08 18:11

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Durban – A church is not a building, it is the people, a senior pastor at the Durban Christian Centre (DCC) said on Wednesday.

Lead Pastor John Torrens was speaking to eThekwini Metro Deputy Mayor Nomvula Shabalala outside the Jesus Dome, which burnt down on Tuesday night. No injuries were reported.

Executive Committee (Exco) officials led by Shabalala have since offered assistance to the church.

Thousands of people have gone to the church to offer support. Messages were also sent to the church via social media.

"What shocked us was... how quickly the fire began," said Torrens.

"There was nothing we could do. Thank God, no one was hurt. We thank all the officials that have come to assist. We are devastated and shocked. But the church is not just a building – it is about people."

When Shabalala asked if the church suspected foul play, Torrens said it was not likely.

"We have no reason to believe that. The local authorities... the firemen did their forensics. It is a crime scene right now. I believe they [police] are calling their forensics from Pretoria... and pretty much, when the fire people handed [their report] over [to police], they said it looks good on their side."

Not setting a precedent

Shabalala said the municipality would try to assist the church that catered for 5 000 congregants during their Sunday service.

"We will be looking to see if we have any available infrastructure in the city. We do not want to create a precedent, but this was so unexpected that such a large church burnt down."

Shabalala said officials would speak to the fire department to ascertain the cause of the fire.

She said the City would look into the availability of the International Convention Centre. Torrens said the Kings Park Stadium, home to the Sharks Rugby team, would accommodate the church this Sunday.

Jesus Dome spokesperson Ron Steele said they planned to pitch a large 2 500-capacity tent to accommodate services.

"What we could do is have two services on a Sunday to accommodate two groups of the 5 000 people."

Steele said there was "disbelief" when people saw the 17-year-old structure in flames on Tuesday night.

"It was just something that no one expected. But today we have realised that it is the people that make the congregation not the structure."

Read more on:    durban  |  fires

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