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'Total devastation': Spencer congregation mourns loss of church in fire

First Congregational Church of Spencer mourns loss of church in fire
First Congregational Church of Spencer mourns loss of church in fire 02:10

SPENCER - Nothing but rubble and ashes are all that remain of a historic church in Spencer after fire destroyed the building.

On Saturday parishioners, neighbors and church employee came by to see what left.

"It's total devastation. It's a shame," church moderator Harold Carlson said.

Elizabeth Goyette is the administrative assistant at the First Congregational Church of Spencer and was called to the church to check out the fire alarm that had gone off. Investigators believe the church steeple was struck by lightning during Friday's thunderstorms. Now she can't believe there's nothing left.

Spencer church fire
The steeple collapsed onto the First Congregational Church of Spencer during the fire on Friday, June 2, 2023. CBS Boston

"I've created these amazing bonds with these older ladies and to think about how they raised their families here and how they baptized their babies here and generations got married, there's so many gorgeous layers of brides who walked down the amazing aisles of the sanctuary," Goyette said.

Carlson said he's been part of the church since the 1960s. He was baptized here as a child, and even got married here. "It's been like a second home. It was a stable place in the community," he said. 

Susan Ceccacci is an architectural historian and came to witness the devastation. She said the church has been here on Main Street for 280 years as a place of worship. The church was destroyed by a fire back in 1862 and then rebuilt one year later. "It's a loss to the people of Spencer, it's a loss to architectural beauty," she said.

Carlson said all future services are being moved to the First Congregational Church of Leicester. "Ten o'clock service and we are going to have a meeting afterward to see what people are feeling and what kind of direction we want to head in. We are still going to be here for the community," Carlson said.

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