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story.lead_photo.caption Phillip Roark walks away from a burned classroom area Wednesday outside Poyen Missionary Baptist Church, which was damaged in a fire Tuesday evening. No injuries were reported, but the Poyen church’s sanctuary, offices and classrooms were ruined. More photos are available at - Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

A pastor in Poyen is asking for prayers after his church was destroyed Tuesday in an overnight fire.

James Green, associate pastor at Poyen Missionary Baptist Church, said he learned of the fire shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday. Firefighters remained on scene until about 4 a.m. Wednesday at 314 W. Second St., he said.

Green said the church was instrumental in the small Grant County town that is home to approximately 300 people. He said the congregation comprises about 250 people, including country artist Justin Moore, and had been "growing by leaps and bounds" with a Sunday attendance that had increased by about 150 people in the past year.

Green said services will be moved elsewhere temporarily while church leaders determine the next step in rebuilding.

"This might be God saying, 'I want to raise you to another level,'" he said. "We just have to keep the faith."

In a tweet at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Moore asked for prayers for his hometown and church family after he learned about the fire.

"Our church is currently on fire, and we are all devastated," Moore said in the tweet.

The musician later posted photos showing the church building engulfed in flames along with the short statement: "Absolutely insane."

No one was inside the church at the time of the fire, and a cause has not been determined, Green said. He pointed to the age of the building -- it was built in 1951 -- as a potential factor.

Green said the church had recently bought property behind the building that may be included in rebuilding efforts.

State Desk on 05/26/2016

Print Headline: Poyen church in ruins after fire; no one hurt

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