It’s amazing how faith can bring a community together both during and following a tragedy.
That has been the case for Fort City Church in Fort McMurray. Lead pastor Doug Doyle said things felt different in the early morning on May 3, 2016, hours before the city was under mandatory evacuation.
“You could feel the tension building in the morning. You could sense even at eleven o’clock when there was a public announcement that everything was quote ‘still ok’, that things weren’t ok,” said Doyle.
IN PICTURES: 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire
On his way out of the city, Doyle got a call from the executive pastor at Beulah Alliance Church in Edmonton, who at first didn’t understand the magnitude of the situation.
“He said, ‘hey, Doug how you doing? (sic) I heard you’re having a little fire up there.” Doyle explained the situation, that he was leaving the city behind, was in bumper to bumper traffic with flames rushing into the city.
WATCH: Doug Doyle talks about his congregation before, during and after the 2016 wildfire
Doyle admits it would’ve been tough to get through last year’s evacuation without the help of Beulah Alliance Church.
The church lent a portion of their building to Fort City Church so they could set up an evacuation centre and provide meals to families.
IN PICTURES: The return to Fort McMurray
Prior to the wildfire, Fort City Church average around 250 people every Sunday. Since evacuees returned home, the Sunday service is averaging between 350-400 people. On Easter Sunday, 560 people showed up.
Father Doyle said Fort City Church is open to anyone and everyone who is looking for help.