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Brownsville Church Relocates to Bed-Stuy After Fire

By Natalie Musumeci | September 15, 2014 8:00am
 Global Fire International church relocated to a Bed-Stuy building after its former Brownsville location was ravaged by a fire.
Global Fire International
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BEDFORD STUYVESANT — A Brownsville church destroyed in a fire has made Bed-Stuy its new home.

Global Fire International, which shared a space with the Greater New Beginning Baptist Church at East 98th St., burned in April. Police suspect an arsonist started the blaze, which destroyed the building’s interior and displaced the congregation for weeks.

But thanks to a donor, the non-denominational church has found a new home inside a two-story building at 404 Willoughby Avenue.

“It was someone genuinely concerned about the things that we endured,” said Pastor D.A Sherron, 23, who founded the church when he was just 17-years-old.

Sherron said that the donor, who doesn't want to be named, owns the Willoughby Avenue property and offered up the vacant space to the church about a month-and-a-half after the fire.

“We were really stranded for a while,” said Sherron. “So to finally be able to settle somewhere was a miracle.”

Police believe a serial arsonist set a newspaper alight in the building’s doorway, authorities said. He was caught by a surveillance camera.

Less than 24 hours later, police think he set another fire in a bathroom of Iglesia Christiana Church at 1504 Pitkin Ave. at Legion Street, causing minor damage.

And a third fire, was started at the Church of St. Mark at 1417 Union St. near Brooklyn Avenue a few hours later, police said.

No arrests have been made, according to an NYPD spokesman.

The Global Fire International blaze destroyed the front door and ravaged the church’s vestibule, said Sherron who was in Florida at the time.

“I was scared,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. There was a lot of damage on the inside. I didn’t know what would happen next.”

Sherron said that he moved the church into another nearby Brownsville house of worship before he relocated services to a bigger rental hall on E. 98th Street and Lenox Avenue.

He said prayer and “keeping the faith” allowed the congregation of about 50 to “persevere.”

He called it a “blessing” that the donor, who Sherron said is a family friend, reached out and offered up the Bed-Stuy building to the church.

“I’m excited. It’s a new opportunity. We’re now settled to really begin to serve the people,” said Sherron, adding that the church will soon start offering mentoring classes to troubled young men.

Church services have already begun in the new space, though it still needs some sprucing up.

“It’s just cosmetic fixes,” said Sherron. “We have a great team of people who have helped to get everything set up.”