TAMPA, Fla. -- A church in Tampa that's been in the community for decades was damaged in a fire Saturday night. But despite the damage, the church still came together to hold Sunday service.

  • Faith Lutheran Church damaged by fire
  • Congregation held Sunday service the next day
  • Church has been in the building since the 1960s

At about 9 p.m. Saturday, Marcus Edwards said he saw flames coming from the Faith Lutheran Church on North Florida Ave and called 911.

"It looked pretty violent," Edwards said. "Sparks and everything were coming off the side of the wall."

First responders were on scene within minutes. Dr. Russell Meyer, the church's pastor, believes it started from electrical wires inside the wall near the library and spread.

Meyer said the skylight along the roof that was melted by the fire likely helped save the rest of the building by giving the flames a path to escape.

The church has called this building home since the 1960s.

"Much of the rest of the sanctuary survived the fire, of course, there's a lot of water damage a lot of smoke damage," Meyer said.

But even with the damage, church members still wanted to hold Sunday services, this time in the fellowship hall.

"Church is people, church is love, church is community, church is service to god and to neighbor," Meyer said. "So none of that has been harmed."

Meyer said in the hours since the fire, he’s received dozens of calls from church members wanting to help however they can.

"It’s our natural faith response so I’m very, very moved to see the many, many responses," he said.