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      Services held despite morning fire at Brownsville church

      Members at the Brownsville Fellowship Community Church were in for a surprise when they arrived there Sunday morning.

      Church leaders said the church went up in flames after Christmas lights sparked the blaze.

      However, services weren't canceled instead the pastor took advantage to deliver a deeper message.

      The Brownsville Fire Department responded to the call at about 7 a.m. Sunday.

      Firefighters were able to contain the flames quickly, but the inside of the church was completely damaged by the smoke.

      Associate Pastor Randy Cawlfield said he decided Sunday services would go on as scheduled because his congregation is a group full of hope in God and not a building.

      Church staff set up chairs, and band equipment and refreshments outside on the church parking lot.

      Pastor Cawlfield said his parishioners dealt with the situation gracefully and stayed for the open-air services instead of dwelling on the incident and going home.

      "We believe that we are the church that building is just the building," Cawlfield said. So the building was on fire but the church cannot be destroyed."

      The church lost some equipment and chairs but Cawlfield said he's just thankful no one was inside the building at the time of the fire.

      Cawlfield said his congregation of about 1,100 people is not looking back; instead they are looking ahead to the upcoming Christmas services.