San Francisco church in Mission District celebrates Easter despite suspicious fire

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, April 1, 2024
SF Mission church celebrates Easter despite suspicious fire
SF Mission church celebrates Easter despite suspicious fire

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco church was celebrating Easter, despite a fire that investigators think may have been intentionally set. St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in the Mission managed to hold holiday services just two days after the fire.

There were songs of praise at St. John the Evangelist Church in San Francisco's Mission District, where investigators say suspected arson may be the cause of a fire on Good Friday.

"I've heard it a million times: a church is not a building. We are the church together," said Reverend Kevin Deal.

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Easter Sunday services went forward despite fire damage at the historic church, a blue tarp covering a window.

While authorities search for a possible suspect, the pastor believes the fire is creating a new narrative for the holiday.

"It felt like an invitation for our community to look more deeply into this story, where death becomes life. Things that cause destruction become things that cause unity and community. It was obvious to gather. We're grateful it is safe to do so in our building," Deal said.

Across town, a standing-room-only crowd was on their feet celebrating Easter like only Glide Memorial Church can.

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The search is on for a suspect in what's expected to be an arson that happened early Friday at John the Evangelist Episcopal church in San Francisco.

"Because, I know if there's going to be a resurrection. If people are going to come back to life, it's going to happen here at Glide Memorial Church because that's all we want to see happen," said Glide Pastor Marvin K. White.

For Glide volunteer Blake Riggs, Easter means renewal and second chances.

"We've seen since the pandemic. Churches take a big blow. The community was hurting and as we've come back from that, this is resurrection of the church, resurrection of Glide," Riggs said.

Across the Bay, there were Easter pancakes during a community celebration in Oakland's Chinatown. It was the 66th pancake breakfast for seniors and families hosted by Wa Sung Community Service Club. Organizers say hundreds showed up to grab a plate.

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