Parishioners Plan to Rebuild Church - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

12/14/05

Parishioners Plan to Rebuild Church

Joe Street in Savannah. Joe Street in Savannah.
A lone parishioner keeps watch from his car. A lone parishioner keeps watch from his car.

After St. Luke AME Church in Savannah burned down early yesterday morning, parishioners are making sure nothing else happens. They're not expecting anything else to go wrong, but just want the rebuilding effort to start as soon as possible.

Unfortunately there's not a whole lot left to protect. With a lone parishioner keeping watch from his car last night, the church sat in darkness, with no roof, no pews, no congregation. inside.

"At this time I'm just going to get together with the church and try and console them first," said Pastor Kenneth Wilson yesterday. "Then reach out to anyone who wants to help."

The fire gutted the historic building. By the time anyone realized what was going on, it was too late. "I heard a crackling noise," said church member Charles McIntosh. "I thought it was probably somebody trying to break in the back door of the church. And when I looked out, there's all these flames coming out the windows and such."

St. Luke has more than a hundred members, and 75 of them are active and they say they fully intend to rebuild and regroup. "The community will rally around this fine congregation," said Rev. James Taylor, a former pastor at the church.

Last night though, they were meeting elsewhere for the first time in a long time, while one of their own, acting as a guardian angel, kept watch just outside the yellow police tape.

Investigators are still trying to figure out if the fire was an accident or arson. They're back on the scene today.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com

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