One day after a fire devastated a large portion of St. Andrew’s Church Sunday, leaders started to plan how they’ll press forward, as authorities investigate the cause of the blaze.
Staff gathered Monday morning in a conference room inside Whole Foods, where they worshiped and debriefed after the fire that ravaged the Mount Pleasant church’s ministry center in the Old Village early Sunday.
Officials from the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina attended the meeting to offer support, St. Andrew’s spokesman Greg Shore said.
The church's historic building, designed by renowned architect E.B. White and constructed in 1857, was largely unscathed by the fire. Services are expected to resume there Sunday, Shore said.
Meanwhile, members of the church’s leadership are trying to secure a bigger space following the destruction of the ministry center, a large worship space and offices built behind the historic church in 1996. About 2,000 members attend St. Andrew's Mount Pleasant campus, and the historic building can hold around 250 people.
Other ministries have reached out to give assistance, both logistical and spiritual, Shore said. People throughout the community have offered space for meetings, school and small groups. People from around the world have said they're praying for St. Andrew's.
“The bottom line is we’re still finding a way forward,” Shore said.
No one was injured in the fire reported around 4 a.m. Sunday.
As of Monday, authorities from the Mount Pleasant Fire Department, the State Law Enforcement Division and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives had not publicly stated a cause.
Mount Pleasant Fire Chief Mike Mixon, Jr. said an update was expected later this week.
In an email to members, the rector Rt. Rev. Steve Wood said the historic church building has survived “a war and earthquakes and hurricanes.”
"She is the wellspring out of which all that we have become over the past (almost) two centuries has emerged," he said. "And it is to her that we return as we regroup and, by the grace of God, rebuild."
Crews are working to restore power to the portions of the church that were not damaged by fire. Staff will continue to meet, but they will likely be mobile for the next several months.
Mike Hughes, chief operating officer of St. Andrew's, said it's still too soon to assess the challenges going forward. But, Hughes added, St. Andrew's is relying on God's strength, as well as the support of the community and beyond.