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Paradise church rises from the ashes

The Camp Fire ripped through Paradise two and a half years ago, and people in the area continue to rebuild the Ridge.

Posted: Jun 26, 2021 9:24 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2021 12:30 PM

PARADISE, Calif. - It was a special day for some in Paradise as Our Savior Lutheran Church officially celebrated its grand opening.

“I’m shaky inside,” June Abercrombie, one of the original founding members, said. “It’s so amazing.”

After the Camp Fire destroyed nearly everything, June experienced something that took two and a half long years to accomplish.

The opening of the new Our Savior Lutheran Church.

“The people here have done an amazing job,” June continued. “Amazing job. I don’t know how they did what they did but they did it.”

Very few items remained from the fire, including the large wooden cross outside the building, a small stained-glass flower and an iron cross found buried underneath a thick layer of ash.

While these symbols of the fire are scattered throughout the church to remember that day in 2018, Saturday morning was about gathering once again as a community.

“Seeing everyone getting the opportunity to experience what they’ve dreamed about for a long, long time," said Kevin Wilcox, the architect of the project. "It was critical for us to ensure that what they have is what they envisioned and wanted. It’s really their design, not ours.”

“With God, he gathers with us wherever it is, but God also gives us a place to call home," said Pastor Brandon Merrick. "It’s special for us to have this part of Paradise.”

“It’s wonderful to be back in the church,” June explained. “Another charter member however many years later. Oh, my word!”

Our Savior Lutheran Church now becomes the newest example of people’s dedication to rebuilding the Ridge.

The church is hosting its dedication service Sunday afternoon starting at 4 p.m.

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The weather will be pulling a 180 as we head into the evening hours and kick off our work week. A north wind will be taking hold, bringing gusty conditions and increased fire danger to the valley, foothills, and the Sierra Mountains. Gusts between 25-35mph are possible from late this evening through Monday night for the valley while the foothills and the Sierra will continue to see the windy conditions through Tuesday morning. This has prompted a Red Flag Warning for the Valley 11pm tonight through 8pm Monday while the Sierra and Foothills will last through Tuesday morning.
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