Members still worshipping one year after fire destroys Berkeley County church

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 8:23 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2021 at 11:54 PM EDT
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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - One year after a fire ravaged a Berkeley County church, the congregation is still holding services at a new location.

The New Hope United Methodist Church in Huger caught fire just before midnight on Sept. 6, 2020. Fire investigators with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were investigating what happened.

The fire destroyed the historic church, which has been around for more than 100 years. One of the only things the pastor was able to salvage was a slightly burnt bible that was still intact.

Rev. Shawn Chestnut, the pastor of the church, recalled being overwhelmed when the church burned down to its foundation. She said while she was sad in that moment, she has received a lot of support from the community.

“Since the fire, we have been churching right along. Even when we come here this Labor day, we still love this old spot. God has blessed us so much with the love of this community,” Chestnut said. “Fellow churches, fellow pastors, friends all over the state and even out of this state have reached out to us and shown us so much love during the loss of our church.”

Since the fire, Chestnut said they have been worshipping at the New Hope Community Life Center located at 152 Heywardridge Lane in Huger. It has been a temporary church for their services, until they can build a new church.

The plan is to build a new church at the same location as the life center. Chestnut hopes that in the future they will also be able to build a chapel or create some type of place for people to come and pray in the area where the old church once stood.

“I’m sure at this point we raised about $100,000 and we have a long, long way to go but God has been good to us. The community has, the churches have, and just beyond denomination, race, or ethnicity, people have shown us love and that touches us, touches our hearts, and gives us the fuel we need to keep on going and keep on striving because we’re going to have that church,” Chestnut said.

Chestnut said they still don’t know what caused the fire. We have reached out to investigators for any updates.

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