Neighboring Church Opens Doors for Displaced Worshipers in Berkeley - NBC Bay Area
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Neighboring Church Opens Doors for Displaced Worshipers in Berkeley



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    A 3-alarm fire broke out on Friday afternoon at the First Congregational Church on 2345 Channing Way in Berkeley. (Sept. 30, 2016)

    A neighboring church is opening its doors to the parishioners of the First Congregational Church in Berkeley that was severely damaged by a three-alarm blaze Friday.

    Church leaders from the First Presbyterian Church announced that they are offering a free brunch and subsequent service at 2 p.m. for the displaced worshipers while authorities continue to close the unstable brick structure and sift through the investigation.

    An additional bit of good news has also settled in for those in charge of operating the damaged church. The main sanctuary is yellow-tagged at this time and authorized personnel are able to step foot inside.

    "The sanctuary is in much better shape," church treasurer Moe Wright said. "Our pipe organ looks like it's in pretty good shape. That was a great relief to me."

    Amid the optimism, the lasting impact of the blaze has put a damper on churchgoer Sara Frucht's hobby.

    "My chorus, I rehearsed there for 13 years and I'm going to have to stop," she said. "That was actually our rehearsal space so it's very sad."

    Officials do not know what caused the blaze to ignite and arson investigators do not believe that the fire was intentionally set at this point in the investigation.

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