Simpsonville church holds special service on 1-year anniversary of sanctuary fire

SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Church isn’t about the building for those who attend Advent United Methodist. Church is about the people.

February 8th was the one-year anniversary of a fire that destroyed the sanctuary at the Simpsonville church.  To mark that date, the congregation held a special service Thursday night.

“I think it’s a way to bring us all closer together as a congregation,” said Elyse Fullerton, a long-time member.

After the service, members filed down to tie blue ribbons onto the fence surrounding the sanctuary.

Each ribbon, signifying hope.

“We have a lot of grief and pain from what happened a year ago, but we know we will not be defined by that,” added Senior Pastor Michael Turner.

Fire officials determined the fire started during sanctuary renovations, when hot slag got into the wall.

The church has been holding service in a gym ever since. Members told 7 News it’s been tough to facilitate their 2,000 member congregation with less space.

Plans to break ground on a new sanctuary are set for March, and are scheduled to wrap up within a one-time frame.

Pastor Turner said he’s seen good come out of this tragedy, explaining that his congregation is closer now than ever before.

“Even with all the grief and the pain of losing our sanctuary we have seen god move in our midst in powerful ways,” Turner said. “The new sanctuary is going to be bigger and better than before.”