The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 22, 2007

Spoken Word Tabernacle lives miraculous rebirth

Just as God rebuilt fallen mankind after the Edenic debacle, God has provided a rebirth for Spoken Word Tabernacle, symbolically in a nine-month gestation after an arsonist with evil in mind sought to destroy it.

Such was the theme Sunday as the Beaver church — half a century in the making — lent itself to an emotional dedication that lasted well beyond two hours.

As things turned out, mused the pastor, the Rev. Roy Shrewsbury Sr., the rebuilt sanctuary is superior to the old one.

“Satan may think he’s smart,” Shrewsbury intoned, provoking scornful cheers from the packed church. “He took the worst, and God gave us the best.”

Back on a muggy Aug. 7 afternoon last year, a mystifying fire flared with a breakneck speed, gutting the church on Scott Ridge Road, just off Interstate 64 overlooking Beaver. Not even a song book was spared. A nearby fellowship hall withstood the intense heat, evidence, figured Shrewsbury, that God was keeping worship there intact until the structure’s speedy rebirth.

Shrewsbury suffered some personal losses as well — priceless mementos and testimonials from clergy and friends spanning his lengthy ministry. Through it all, however, the battle-hardened combat veteran of World War II never lost his sense of direction, nor his spirit of forgiveness.

And that, opined the keynoter, Pastor Edward F. Byskal of Cloverdale Bibleway in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, is a remarkable testimony of the gospel.

“For a man to stand at that great loss and say ‘I have no animosity; he’s forgiven,’ that’s the character of Jesus Christ,” said Byskal, who also is president of Bible Believers of Washington, D.C.

Byskal said he has been involved in numerous church buildings but never witnessed anything as this one.

“To put one up in nine months is no small thing,” he said. “It was indeed a supernatural thing.”

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