Vigil held at site of suspicious church fire - KMSP-TV

Vigil held at site of suspicious church fire

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DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) - All that's left is an empty shell where an historic Detroit church used to stand. A suspicious fire last weekend destroyed the century old First Unitarian Church on Woodward Avenue. Sunday, one final service was held amid the ruins.

Click on the video player to watch Randy Wimbley's report.

They sang on top of rubble and scavenged remnants of Detroit history. A group of roughly 50 people met Sunday at what's left of the church. It stood for more than a century until an arsonist burned it down a little more than a week ago. Even thought it's been empty for roughly a decade, Unitarian minister Roger Mohr says there's plenty of history beneath the wreckage.

"The Unitarians go all the way back back prior to the Civil War before the 1830's and 40's," he said. "Part of the abolitionist movement. This church actually housed people who tried to escape from slavery."

Joel Batterman was one of many who collected the old bricks that once held up the building. As a young Unitarian he traces his spiritual lineage to the now ruined building.

Even though the building was erected for the people who worshipped there, neighbors say it was also for anyone who lived nearby and they want answers.

"Nobody wants closure we want justice," said Angela Stoyanovitch. "This is great, light a candle, feels great but this a social gathering. I really want to know the real story."

The DPD arson unit tells us the investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

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