Burned church being slowly rebuilt

GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCIV) - On October 23, 2011 an electrical fire destroyed Greater St. Stephen AME Church in Georgetown. Since then, the rebuilding process has been slow but, the pastor says faith is leading the way.

"Basically we are not only building for the membership, we are building for the community also," said Rev. Carl Anderson, Pastor of Greater St. Stephen.

The small family church was located on Winyah Street. Two homes landlocked the church, so church officials opted to move to a larger lot of land on Highmarket Street.

"When we purchased this property it was a house on the property. The owners wanted to move the house to their farm. And, 30 days turned into 90 days so, we're a couple months behind," Anderson said.

Since then, the congregation has slowly but surely made progress.

"Right now, we're in phase two," said Anderson. "Phase one was the foundation. Phase two now, they are putting up the studs now, and then they will put up the rafters, which is phase three. Then they will begin the grand work of doing all the inside."

The 200,000 square foot building is nearly twice the size of the original building and will sit on three acres of land.

"The sanctuary is going to seat about a hundred more people. The family life center is going to be larger. We hope to have a gym on the inside. We hope to have space for banquets and different events for the community," said Anderson.

Once complete, Anderson said the new building would make Greater St. Stephen one of the few African American congregations to own a brand new multi-use facility.

"Now, we can do programs for our senior citizens, we can have programs for our youth, we can have after school programs. We can even have the weight program, you know everybody's talking about getting healthy," said Anderson.

To donate to the Greater St. Stephen AME Church Fire Disaster Fund, mail your gifts to:

P.O. Box 767Georgetown, SC 29442