Conyers church dealt crushing blow when fire tears through sanctuary, needs help to rebuild

Pastor K. Francis Smith has worked to build Excel Church in Conyers for years, but in a matter of hours Friday morning the sanctuary where his congregation worships was destroyed.

"I arrived, smoke billowing through the roof, and I'm just totally at a loss," he said.

At this point, it is unclear how the fire started, but the good news nobody was hurt. 

The blaze was burning so hot it ruined everything inside the church.

"Chairs gone, all musical equipment instruments gone and so I've been doing this 20 years and you look up everything is gone," Pastor Smith said.

Smith estimates it could cost $5 million to rebuild. For years the church has helped those in the community by offering free food boxes, now they are hoping people return the favor and help them in their time of need.

"We believe this is an opportunity for us to do something bigger and better than we ever have before and sometimes you have to let go of something in order to get something new," said Sheryl Sands.

Two days after the church community's faith was tested by this fire, the congregation came together for Sunday services. It might be the gym next door but the purpose was the same.

"We were tight-knit, it brought everyone closer together," Smith said. "It was a feeling; it's surreal you're still dealing with this bittersweet type of thing."

It is going to take a lot of money to get this church rebuilt. If you want to help, click here: (