By Jessica Brodie
NORTH CHARLESTON—A pastor, his son and his congregation are recovering after fire destroyed their church parsonage.
The Rev. Julius McDowell, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church, Ladson, said he was at a church meeting March 18 when he got an emergency call that there was a fire upstairs at the parsonage.
“My son was there, and I believe he probably was smoking and fell asleep, and that’s when the fire happened,” McDowell said, noting that his son awoke to the blaze and tried to extinguish the fire on the mattress. “He tried to pick it up and put in bathroom, and somehow the ceiling got on fire, and the ceiling dropped on him and burned him a little bit, and he lost his direction and went back into the room that was burning and jumped onto the roof through the window, and one of the neighbors saw him.”
McDowell said his son received second-degree burns on his neck, ear, knees and hand, though the healing has gone well and he’s doing well.
“He’s a little bit nervous because of what happened to him, though, and he’s having some problems sleeping,” McDowell said.
He said the church provided them with an apartment, and luckily insurance will cover the house repairs. He believes they should be back in the home within 60 says.
“The church is supporting us 100 percent, and all the churches in the Charleston District, and I cannot say enough about my district superintendent (the Rev. Sandra Stevens-Poirel),” McDowell said. “We are on a rebound. We are going to be OK.”
McDowell is hoping United Methodists across the state will join in prayer for him and the church as they navigate the experience.
“This has never happened to this congregation, and the devastation has just touched us in a very special way,” McDowell said. “God has a way of sustaining us, and we believe in the maintenance of what He has done for us thus far, and I know He will keep us steadfast.”