Fire damages Mississippi church where Faulkner was married


OXFORD, Mississippi (AP) — The Mississippi church where William Faulkner was married nearly a century ago has been badly damaged by fire.

College Hill Presbyterian Church, northwest of Oxford, caught fire on Saturday night and burned for more than three hours, the Oxford Eagle reported.

The congregation was founded in 1835 and the church was built in 1844. Faulkner and his wife, Estelle, were married there in 1929 – two decades before the novelist was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

The pulpit and most of the church’s red-brick white exterior and columns survived the fire, but the original stained glass windows and pews were destroyed. A firefighter retrieved a Bible from the pulpit.

“So many pastors in the 1800s had written in this Bible and preached from this Bible,” said Casey Rodgers, an elder at the church. « There’s a lot of history that’s been lost, so we’re grateful it was able to be saved. »

Lafayette County Fire Chief Wes Anderson said authorities are investigating the cause of the blaze. The church will continue to hold worship services in the communion hall next to the main building.

The church’s crèche coordinator, Debra Patterson, said people sometimes sat inside or outside the building, even when services weren’t taking place.

« The doors are never locked, so you can always come in and pray, » Patterson said. « It really is a sanctuary. »

The Associated Press


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