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After Fires, Napa Congregation Draws Strength From Quake-Damaged Church

NAPA (KPIX 5) -- The members of a church in Napa who are all too familiar with the impact natural disasters are finding solace and strength at First Presbyterian in the wake of the destructive fires.

At Sunday service in downtown Napa, a parishioner made an understandable request to a higher power.

"We ask for courage and strength to face the difficult days ahead," the parishioner read.

The congregation at the First Presbyterian Church are no strangers to such prayers. Three years ago, the building was heavily damaged in the Napa earthquake.

After a successful struggle to save their historic sanctuary, on Sunday they got a briefing from one of their own members on the latest disaster to strike the community.

"There's going to be a lot of work to be done, and I would like to think that the rebuilding and the work we all had to go through to recover after the earthquake could be a good model for how people can recover," said Cal Fire Chief and church member David Shew.

"These kinds of times have a way of bringing out the best in us," said retired parish pastor Harrel Miller.

But the "best" doesn't come easy. Congregants George and Dale Cliff had to run from the flames and watched from a distance as their house burned to the ground.

Ned Roscoe had similar story. He also lost his home, but in the process, has discovered what really matters.

"I didn't anticipate to feel this good.  But what you realize is you, really love some of the people around you. That's really important," said Roscoe.

These are people of faith who believe nature operates under a higher plan.  Still, with Napa not even fully recovered from the calamity of the 2014 earthquake.

They are hoping the plan will cut them a break.

"Whoever's pulling the handles, quit pulling 'em! This is enough for now," said Miller.

By sticking together, members of First Presbyterian Church got through the earthquake and recovery with their faith unshaken. And now that faith has been tempered by fire.

But even those who lost everything were left with something valuable: the strength to carry on no matter which way the wind blows.

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