Congregation plans to rebuild after historic church destroyed by fire | News
SUMTER COUNTY, SC (WIS)- The historic Shiloh United Methodist Church meant everything to the people who worship there.
"This is family," said church member Roaslynne Watford. "This is family."
"It's been my only church all my life," said Jimmy Myers.
"Three of my ancestors were on the original deed of this property," said David Goodman.
Dating back to the 1830's, Shiloh United Methodist Church has gone through changes over the years.
The most drastic change came early Wednesday morning.
Fire destroyed the building and all the significant moments in Watford's life.
"I got baptized here, married here," she said. "My children were baptized here."
Fire officials believe lightning set the roof on fire. 30 firefighters from across Sumter County tried to put it out.
Mitch McElveen was one of them. He grew up in the church.
"It was a very emotional fire for me," said McElveen. "It felt like I was fighting a fire at my own home. We did the best we could do."
"We know everything happens for a reason," said Jimmy Myers. "We will be back."
"This is not the church," said Pastor John Bolin. "It's just wood, bricks, steeple. But the people are the church."
A church that is hurting, but also looking for healing.
Within the burned rubble, a sheet of music reminds parishioners to hope and anticipate a better tomorrow.
"Sums us up, it's over," said Watford. "Time to move on, look forward, begin a next chapter."
A wedding was scheduled at the church for Saturday. Church members will have Sunday services at an old country store down the street as they plan to rebuild.
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