A historic Elizabeth church was destroyed by an early-morning fire just hours before Sunday services.
The blaze had burned through the roof of the Shiloh Baptist Church at 95 Murray St., within minutes of erupting around 3:10 a.m.
The fire reached four alarms and was under control around 6 a.m.
Shiloh Baptist Church was founded in 1879, its Facebook page says.
Parishioners and community members sent encouraging words to Pastor William Ingram on Facebook.
"Please keep the Shiloh Baptist Church , Elizabeth, New Jersey in prayer and Pastor William Ingram," one person wrote.
"A fire destroyed the building, but the Body of Baptized￼ Believers will continue to go forth."
Speaking to reporters outside, Ingram called the fire a shock.
"We were anticipating waking up this morning coming to church to worship," he said.
"[But] that’s the nature of life, and you know, that’s why we have faith."
The cause remains under investigation.
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