A church near the South Carolina coast that is more than 150 years old has been heavily damaged in a fire.
The fire was reported around 3:30 a.m. Sunday at the St. Andrews Church in Mount Pleasant. The fire department and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating the cause of the fire. No one was hurt.
The fire was contained before it spread to a historic chapel that was built in 1857. It was designed by architect E.G. White, who also designed the French Huguenot Church in Charleston.
The building that was heavily damaged was constructed in 1996.
“The Lord promises to bring beauty out of ashes,” Rector Steve Wood said, “and we’re taking him at his word.”
Wood said there were a lot of tears Sunday morning.
“You tell yourself that it’s a building, but a lot of people came to faith here. Marriages, baptisms, funerals,” he said.
Many members arrived for Sunday services to discover the building was on fire.
Rebecca Ranucci, 42, of Mount Pleasant, was driving to a service when she got word of the fire on social media.
“Not St. Andrews,” she cried. “Not my St. Andrews.”
St. Andrews formerly was associated with the Episcopal Church but is one of those involved with a split with the national denomination over scriptural interpretations and administrative controls.
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