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Church finds new ways to gather, worship after fire

Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 7:06 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 8:33 PM EDT
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SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - As a Summerville church is celebrating its 85th birthday this year, church leaders are figuring out how to move forward after a devastating fire.

A fire last week at First Emmanuel Baptist Church destroyed the building’s sanctuary. A portion of the building’s roof collapsed as crews worked to bring the fire under control.

“The pews are gone, the pulpit’s gone, the piano’s wrecked, the organ’s wrecked, the sound system’s gone,” Pastor John Hill said.

Cleanup crews are currently working on the fellowship hall, where Hill said they’re hoping to hold church services in the next three to four weeks once it’s finished. For now, they’re holding services under a tent next to the church.

A two-alarm fire heavily damaged the sanctuary of First Emmanuel Baptist Church on Dorchester...
A two-alarm fire heavily damaged the sanctuary of First Emmanuel Baptist Church on Dorchester Road on Wednesday afternoon.(Live 5)

“We are what the New Testament describes as a church, it’s a family,” Hill said. “If you come to our church, you are not a church member, you’re a part of our family. And I’ve been more than overwhelmed by how our people have come together.”

His daughter, Lindy Hill, said the community’s help has been a reminder that there are good people out there.

“Having something like this happen, just makes you remember that still are good people that want to help you, that are kinda rooting for you, and it’s just kind of easy to forget that sometimes,” she said.

Hill said he knows God is in control and he is excited to see what God is going to do.

“We’re not discouraged,” he said. “Why could anybody be discouraged when you pray over and over and over for God’s will to be done, and then something happens. How do you look at it as a tragedy?”

Hill said all are welcome to their Wednesday night Bible study at 7 p.m. He also invites everyone to Sunday School and their Sunday morning worship service, at 8 a.m. and 9.a.m, respectively. It will be held under their tent.

Crews battled a two-alarm fire at First Emmanuel Baptist Church Wednesday afternoon.
Crews battled a two-alarm fire at First Emmanuel Baptist Church Wednesday afternoon.(Live 5)

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