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Jersey City Church Reopens A Decade After Burning Down

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Clair Memorial United Methodist Church in Jersey City reopened on April 17 after burning down 10 years ago. (Credit: CBS 2)

Clair Memorial United Methodist Church in Jersey City reopened on April 17 after burning down 10 years ago. (Credit: CBS 2)

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBS 2) — The beginning of Holy Week also meant a new beginning for a local church. They opened the doors on a new church building on Sunday, a decade after their old home burned to the ground.

Songs of triumph echoed from Clair Memorial United Methodist Church in Jersey City Sunday, and there was a reason for it.

“It’s like going away, and then when you come back home,” parishioner Sharnette Greene said.

For the last decade, the parishioners didn’t have a place to call home.

“It’s been a very long and difficult journey,” parishioner Jeanette Drayton said.

That journey began in April 2001, when a fire ripped through the nearly century-old building, leaving only devastation in its wake.

After years of fundraising and construction, they opened their new church building Sunday – symbolically on Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week in the Christian church.

Church members spent the last 10 years worshipping at Temple Beth-El, which is just around the corner from the church. Only days after the fire, Temple Beth-El’s rabbi called the parishioners and told them they could worship there.

“Over these 10 years, we wouldn’t be here had this city not been kind, compassionate and hospitable to others,” Reverend Hugo Rey said.

Parishioners with Clair Memorial United Methodist Church said they will continue to work with those at Temple Beth-El. They plan to hold food drives together every month.

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