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February 21, 2013

Area residents cope with the loss of their church

DUNCAN —  

The church at Fifth and Pine may be gone, but the memories will last for the Spradling siblings.
Sue Spradling Sims, Harold Spradling and their siblings grew up in and around the church that was destroyed Monday by fire. The first structure of the church was built in 1927 by their grandfather William Love Fortenberry.
They attended the church, when it was First Assembly of God. They were involved in the youth group. And all the siblings married there.
“There was a lot of history, a lot of memories,” Sims said. “We grew up in that church.”
As the siblings grew up, they lived within walking distance of the church, which began as a frame building. Throughout the years, people came and added to the building, whether adding brick to the exterior or adding additional space.
The main growth of the building occurred in the late 1950s. The original front door was kept, even through additional construction. There was even a small area in back where the siblings’ grandparents lived; this area was later converted into classrooms.
Spradling said the church was originally built in its location to be close the railroad tracks and to serve the needs of eastern Duncan. The congregation started out small but later went on to serve almost 600 people at one time.
“The growth was faster than the funds could come in,” Spradling said.
The siblings described the building as a part of Duncan’s history and a landmark for the city. Throughout the years, the church changed from First Assembly of God to Cornerstone Assembly to God to most recently Foursquare Gospel Church. Foursquare Gospel had its last service Feb. 3, before moving to its new location on Willow.
Foursquare Gospel moved out of the church because the small congregation didn’t need the large building. The building was too expensive for the current congregation.

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