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Please Keep Our Friends from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pomaria, S.C in Your Prayers as They Rebuild Their Church Building Lost in a Recent Fire

CHICAGO (ELCA) -- St. Paul Lutheran Church in Pomaria, S.C., was destroyed by fire Jan. 10. St. Paul is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

While an investigation is now underway, there is no inclination among church members that it is arson, said Andrew Boozer, a member of St. Paul.

Boozer lives about a mile from the church and watched it burn, along with other St. Paul members who live close by. "It's been a hard morning," Boozer said. "As the steeple fell, the church bell was ringing on its way down."

"The sanctuary that was burned down today was built in 1937. The education building, located behind the sanctuary, is a total loss. Built in the 1950s, the granite walls of the education wing fell down -- all three stories are at a complete loss," said Boozer, adding that the stone walls of the sanctuary are still standing, as well as the base of the steeple. "There is some attempt to try and save those," he said. One of the oldest Lutheran-established congregations in South Carolina, the 250-member St. Paul recently celebrated its 252nd

"The deed for the St. Paul property came from the king of England," said Boozer. "The first sanctuary that was used was a log cabin, which was also lost to fire," he said.

"The congregation is so thankful for the prayers and love from the community and from the emergency personal and volunteers who doused the fire," said Boozer.

"We're blessed to be part of a strong community, and we're thankful for that. We will be leaning on the community for support in the next couple of months," said Boozer, director for enrollment and communications at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, an ELCA seminary in Columbia, S.C.