MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Members of a Mount Pleasant church are all too familiar with the shock and sadness those in Paris are experiencing after Monday’s devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.
The inferno that raged through the historic cathedral in France for more than 12 hours Monday destroyed its spire and its roof, but spared its twin medieval bell towers, and a frantic rescue effort saved the monument’s “most precious treasures,” including the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Jesus, officials said Tuesday.
Back in the Lowcountry, this coming Monday marks one year since a fire destroyed the ministry center building at St. Andrews Church. The fire happened at approximately 3:30 a.m. on April 22, 2018. The ministry building was a separate building from the old historic church building, which was left untouched by the fire.
A new ministry center is under construction.
But the church’s rector, Bishop Steve Wood, says the fire became one of the best things that happened to them.
Wood says the church had planned to break ground on a significant addition to the church the day after the fire broke out. Some of the things they wanted to do could not be done because they did not have a “clean slate” for construction. But the fire cleaned the slate for them.
“I think it’s a testament to Jesus to his faithfulness to us,” Wood said. “One of the great promises of scripture that we lached onto very quickly was that God brings beauty out of ashes and we were surrounded by ashes a year ago and now we’re seeing the beginning of beauty.”
The new worship center expected to rise from the ashes will be three stories tall and will be able to hold 800 people. It is expected to open by the spring in 2020.
On the afternoon of the fire, Wood posted a photo showing the inside of the fire-ravaged structure showing the most noticeable piece of the building still standing was a wooden cross that had been handcrafted in 1995.
“I can’t tell you what it means to me and to many to see that cross still standing,” Wood said that day. “There is no rational reason. That was the epicenter of the fire, that is a wooden cross and yet the cross still stands.”
The church plans to hold a fire anniversary service, called Beauty from Ashes Worship, on Wednesday.
Fellowship will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the parking lot where food trucks will be set up and the service will take place in the old historic church at 7 p.m.