Brian Scott, Denton County Reporter
After a fire destroyed Denton County's Cowboy Church volunteers are helping the church in Ponder get ready for Easter services.
After a fire destroyed Denton County's Cowboy Church, volunteers are helping the church in Ponder get ready for Easter services.
Church members and volunteers have worked nearly every day for the last 11 months to renovate and restore the church at its site in Ponder.
“It was mainly the burned out area,” said Sam Gamble who’s lead a lot of the work. “Once we got past it, got the cleanup done there, well then the rest of it's been pretty easy. Once we got the beams in and everything, we've done this in roughly 6 weeks."
The Denton County Cowboy Church was first established in the summer of 2005 near Ponder. They describe the congregation as an off-shoot of the Baptist denomination altered to embrace and appeal to the cowboy.
On Saturday, May 5, 2012, a fire sparked in the church during the morning hours.
Firefighters from several agencies fought the flames but by the time the fire was put out, much of the interior and parts of the outside of the church were at a total loss.
With the building in ruins, church members continued to meet weekly. They gathered in a field outside of the church and eventually in a Ponder school gymnasium. Church members say when the congregation originated about six years ago, it was in a barn and members wouldn’t let not having a building stop them now.
"This church means a lot to this community and the people here,” said elder Duke Stoneman.
"You realize that this is just a building,” said Shawn Wilkinson, an elder of the church. “The church is an individual. The group of people that come here, that's the church.”
While life went on for the congregation, individual members began lending their skills to raise funds for and rebuild a new and improved church.
They set their goal to be back in the building for Easter Sunday service.
While all of the doors won’t be on their hinges and there will still be some work to do, Pastor Jeff Tackett says they have gotten the okay to hold service in the building once again.
"Not only are we celebrating Christ's resurrection but we're celebrating the resurrection of our church and being able to get back in this building,” Tackett said.