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Lower Lake Methodist Church Building Destroyed By Clayton Fire, But Not Faith

LAKE COUNTY (CBS13) — The Clayton Fire continues to scorch through part of Lake County Monday evening. As of 10 p.m., the fire had grown to 4,000 acres and is 5 percent contained.

The fire started on Saturday along Highway 29 near Lower Lake.

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated, and about two-hundred structures were destroyed as of Monday afternoon -- among them -- the Lower Lake Methodist Church.

RELATED: Clear Lake Man Accused Of Setting Clayton Fire, Other Lake County Blazes

Pastor John Pavoni got his first look at what was left of his church, two days after the Clayton Fire ripped through the small town.

"You can see the rod iron is the only thing that's left," said the pastor.

The church was known to be a cornerstone to many people in the community after it was built in the mid-1800's.

Pastor Pavoni says the church was a safe-haven for the community and a place where people could get help.

"We welcome people with open arms, anyone and everyone is accepted in our church," the pastor added.

Lower Lake Methodist also runs a thrift store in Lower Lake, donating clothes instead of charging people in need.

The church would open its doors every week to the needy, providing food and supplies.

Pastor Pavoni says church volunteers would give 80 bags of supplies every week.

Those supplies are now gone, along with the rest of the church.

But faith lives on, says Pastor Pavoni.

As a church that has served the community for more than 150 years, it now looks for support from its own people.

"Things will be rebuilt. Fire destroys but it also purifies so let's see where it takes us," said Pastor Pavoni.

Habitat for Humanity was also destroyed by the fire.

The organization has been helping fire victims from the wildfires last year, and now will not be able to continue.

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