BAKER — Members of a local congregation rallied on Sunday almost two weeks after their church was destroyed by a fire.

Following the July 9 blaze, members of the First Baptist Church of Milligan held their first Sunday service at a new location.

Previously used by Baker 1st United Methodist Church, the building — located on State Road 189 — became vacant less than a month before a lightning strike rattled Milligan worshipers.

“It’s a little different, but it’s nice to have a place to call our own for the time being,” said Pastor Charles Smith, who added that he was thankful for the firefighters who contained the flames. “I was there at the church as they were fighting the blaze ... and it’s something I don’t think I could do.”

After the fire, Smith reached out to Timothy Trent, superintendent of the Pensacola district of the United Methodist Church, who agreed to let the displaced congregation use the building.

“We’re not on a timeline with this,” said Trent, who added that he only asked them to pay for utilities and cut the grass. “As long as they need the church, and it meets their needs, they can meet here.”

Trent said he believes it is important to show different denominations can work together regardless of any competition seen today.

“You can’t be in competition about the kingdom of God,” he said. “We’re all in this together.”

For Anita Helton, a longtime member and Crestview resident, losing the building was a “humbling” experience.

“Everything has just kind of fell into place,” she said. “It just feels like that’s God moving in his way for us.”

Although Helton added that the First Baptist Church of Milligan still had a few kinks to work out, she said that it wasn’t the church building that was special, but the people.

“I think it’s a God thing,” Trent said. “The timing of this, you can’t help but kind of scratch your head.”