Church Fire

As many of you have heard, at 2:30 AM 28 May 2020 the 3rd Presbyterian Church in Chester Pennsylvania caught fire and by dawn the church was a smoldering ruin with only the stone walls remaining. The 3rd Presbyterian had stood at 9th and Potter streets since its construction just after the Civil War.

For a brief history see:

Since the disaster many people and organizations have offered their help to stabilize the walls, fencing that which can no longer be locked, and help in picking up the few remaining pieces. For all this help those of us involved are deeply grateful and take a real comfort in knowing that we do not mourn our loss alone.

But please; let our misfortune turn to your advantage. Look around your city. You do have your own 3rd Presbyterians tucked away in your forgotten neighborhoods. For if you don’t take steps today, you may find, as the city of Chester has found, that the old song is right and “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til its gone.” I say this because, had this level of support come just one year ago, there would have been enough resources to seal 3rd Presbyterian tight enough that no arsonist could have forced their way in in the first place.

I write this on May 31st. As of now the church lies in utter ruin. Sodden charcoal a foot thick is covered by the jumble of fire ravaged timbers mixed with melted stained-glass and shattered roof tiles.

It is a depressing sight, but a Phoenix will rise from the ashes. Though the ghost of the third Presbyterian will hover forever at our shoulders, the new that is to come will, as the church before it, be a place for all good people to gather, to learn and to grow.

Stop. Now. look around you and save what you have while you still have it.

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**Video was graciously provided by Craig Priniski. Post by Bob Quay.

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