Pastor ‘looking forward to Sunday’ after church fire destroys sanctuary

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Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 10:57 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2022 at 9:47 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Greater Faith United Missionary Baptist Church (GFUMBC) is calling for donations after a sanctuary fire and electrical explosion on Sunday.

According to members of the congregation, GFUMBC held two Sunday services before reporting flames to Columbia-Richland Fire after 2 p.m.

The building, formerly an all-black sewing shop, was empty at the time of the incident. Church staff and faculty turned witness after arriving on scene.

“This was a bad situation. But out of this bad situation we know that God [is] going to bring something good out of it,” said Deacon Anthony Sanders, Superintendent of Sunday School.

Deacon Sanders watched as flames and smoke billowed from the facility. Within hours, a drop wire connecting GFUMBC to city power caught fire resulting in a transformer explosion.

“It’ll test your faith, now... but [we] can’t do nothing but go up. And we’re going to build it back,” said Pastor Charles E. Graham on the porch of his home.

The Greater Faith United Missionary Baptist Church (GFUMBC) is calling for donations after a...
The Greater Faith United Missionary Baptist Church (GFUMBC) is calling for donations after a sanctuary fire and electrical explosion on Sunday.(clear)

The 80-year-old Vietnam war veteran with 69 years of pastoral experiences tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t know where I got [COVID] from. But, hey, I’m going to beat that too... my main thing is keeping people believing and keeping their faith up,” continued Pastor Graham.

Despite COVID and a ‘total loss’ church fire, CFUMBC is optimistic for recovery. With help from the Columbia Metro Baptist Association, Pastor Graham will deliver service at the Belmont Baptist Church with his congregation this Sunday.

According to faculty, the estimated cost of damage to CFUMBC is $750,000. If interested in donating to their recovery efforts, click here.

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