Keeping the faith through a fire

wwny Keeping the faith through a fire

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown religious leaders are being asked what fire crews should save if a fire breaks out in their church. The city's fire department has been working with the religious community.

The Watertown Fire Department is getting serious about protecting religious artifacts.

This fall, members of the fire department have been visiting churches in the city.

Watertown Fire Chaplain Samuel Lundy says they're trying to identify important items to try and save in case of a fire.

He says they are treasures money can't buy.

"They contain items that perhaps don't have a great monetary value, but are very valuable to the congregation, things that have been passed down through the centuries," he said.

Tuesday, the fire department stopped at Emmanuel Congregational Church and Concordia Lutheran Church.

Concordia Lutheran Pastor Paul Luisi says the congregation moved to the current location on Arsenal Street in 1970. But they still have some of the relics from their original church.

"This statue is important to this congregation because it was placed here, actually in the original church, still standing on Massey Street in 1906," said Luisi.

And for both Emmanuel Congregational and Concordia Lutheran, records of members past and present were some of the most important items.

"This is one and only, the one and only record of the congregation Concordia Lutheran Church," said Luisi.

Officials from the Watertown Fire Department say the idea to visit city churches was prompted by a fire at one of the most recognizable churches in the world.

"The massive conflagration at Notre Dame de Paris prompted us to be aware that maybe our brother and sister churches in our own community had things of value," said Lundy.

The department has visited under 10 churches.

Lundy says there are over 30 in the city. So, they still have work to do.

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