Fire Destroys Holy Angels Church, No Injuries
CHICAGO (AP) _ Fire today gutted a Catholic church whose pastor founded a program for the adoption of black orphans, officials said.
No injuries were reported in the fire at Holy Angels Catholic Church, said Jerry Lawrence, spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department.
The church is best known for the work of its pastor, the Rev. George Clements, who founded the ″One Church, One Child″ campaign to encourage black congregations to find families willing to adopt black orphans.
Clements, a black priest ordained in 1957, began the program in 1980 and has since adopted three teen-age boys.
By February of this year, ″One Church, One Child″ had saved the state an estimated $14 million in child aid and had dramatically reduced the number of black orphans seeking adoption, program and state officials said.
The program also had spread to 21 states, officials said.
Firefighters were summoned to the South Side church at about 4:30 a.m., Lawrence said.
″To the church, there was extensive damage,″ he said. ″The roof is down, the floor is down. Structurally, the walls are in good shape but that’s about it.″
The four-story, cut-stone church is flanked by a school, a convent and a rectory, but they suffered no damage, Lawrence said.
Preliminary reports indicated the fire began in the basement, but authorities did not know the cause, he said.