Historic churches in Charlotte area send prayers to Notre Dame

Local churches empathize with Notre Dame after massive fire

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Video of the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris gripped people around the world on Monday. It hits close to home for the Charlotte faith community because of the many historic churches in the area.

“It is a very odd, empty kind of feeling where you’re going - oh it’s no longer there,” said Jacob Saylor, church administrative officer for Unity Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill.

Saylor stood outside of Unity Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill on an icy December night when flames ravage its historic sanctuary.

“Your heart sinks, you just sigh,” said Saylor.

When he watched the flames rise above Notre Dame Cathedral, he said his heart sank again.

“To see something like that and it’s destruction it’s a spiritual loss as much as it is a historic loss,” said Savannah Jillani, who works at an historic church.

History lost to fire is something Saylor says the Fort Mill congregation, founded in 1881, has been forced to deal with over the past months.

To the Notre Dame community, he has a message.

“Actually take time and grieve and lean on to one another and hug one another and tell stories,” said Saylor.

Others in the community say the fire at Notre Dame makes them think of how to protect our historic churches.

“We all know Notre Dame, but this church has its own history and personality and you don’t want to see something like that just go like that,” said Jilliani.

Leaders like Saylor say the timing of this loss during Holy Week is significant.

“It’s really the message of Holy Week, it’s a journey from despair to great hope,” said Saylor.

Saylor says the hope, love and joy that makes Notre Dame and other faith buildings so special will withstand any flames.

“It’s sad, it’s tragic, but you know what come Sunday we will sing and we will pray," said Saylor.

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