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Former church member devastated by Epiphany Episcopal fire

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Updated: 9/21/2013 2:09 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Westside church community is picking up the pieces after their Sunday school building went up in flames.

Former Sunday school teacher Rebecca Rodgers saw the damage firsthand Friday morning.

"This place meant so much to me when I was here," said Rodgers.

According to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, 15 fire trucks were dispatched to Epiphany Episcopal Church in the 5200 block of Harlow Boulevard about 4:30 a.m.

Investigators believe the fire started in the utility room. According to JFRD spokespman Tom Francis, it does not appear to be suspicious, but the cause is still under investigation.

Much of the building was gutted by the fire; the flames left a gaping hole in the roof.

According to Rodgers, the fire is yet another sad chapter in the church's 55-year history after it fell on hard times earlier this year.

"It was just financial reasons that we had to close our doors. We were hoping to move someplace different, but that just didn't happen," said Rodgers.

According to the Episcopal Diocese of Florida, Epiphany's congregation merged with St. Catherine Episcopal in February because of dwindling membership.

Epiphany's sanctuary, which was not damaged by the fire, is still used for small gatherings.

Despite all the damage, Rodgers prays Epiphany will leave a long-lasting legacy.

"I'm hoping people remember this place as it once was," said Rodgers.

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