CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Monday will mark one year since the fire at St. Andrews Church in Mount Pleasant.
When the flames were out, a cross inside the church remained standing in the midst of damage.
There is a similar sight in Paris at the Notre Dame Cathedral as a golden cross remained in place after the fire that broke out on Monday.
St. Andrews Church leaders say their fire became a blessing.
“One of the very first things that struck me when I saw the photos after the fire at Notre Dame was the fact that their cross and their alter still remained and it was identical for us,” said Steve Wood, the Rector of St. Andrews Church and the Bishop of the Diocese of the Carolinas. “For people of faith it is a great comfort. It was a visible assurance that our savior was with us in the midst of bewildering and overwhelming circumstances.”
St. Andrews Church’s ministry center caught on fire, and it’s where they held their contemporary services. Their historic church, right next to it, was left undamaged.
“The past year has been extraordinary. A year ago at this time, we were disoriented, a little bewildered trying to process the magnitude of what happened,” Wood said. “I would honestly say now the fire was one of the best things that have ever happened to us.”
Wood says they were planning to break ground on a significant addition to the church the day after the fire last year.
He says there were some plans they couldn’t do because they didn’t have a clean slate.
The fire created just that.
The church will have a brand new three-story worship center that can hold 800 people. It is expected to open by the spring of next year. Wood says it will not only be a place for services but a gathering place for the community.
“One of the great promises of scripture that we latched on to 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,” Wood said. “One aspect of beauty has been the number of people that the Lord has brought to us in the past year as new members and the number of people who have stepped forward into the life of the church to serve us.”
St. Andrews Church will have a fire anniversary service on Wednesday, April 24.
It’s called Beauty from Ashes Worship. There will be food trucks in the parking lot with fellowship beginning at 5:30 p.m. The service will take place in the historic church at 7 p.m.
“What happened at St. Andrews is an Easter story. It’s the story or resurrection. It’s a story of God who makes all things new,” Wood said. “In our case, he’s making a building new. But in the lives of individuals he makes us new as well it’s really a story of hope.”