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MINEAPOLIS – A church family moved back into their building Sunday morning, eight months after an arsonist set fire to it.

"This is a day of celebration for us," said Rev. Luke Swanson. "I remember standing in the parking lot watching the fire burn."

In July of last year, someone broke into Community Covenant Church in Minneapolis and set fire to the church piano. The damage spread beyond that and nearly gutted the entire sanctuary. Insurance, members, and even neighboring churches helped cover the $200,000 in expenses.

The suspect also wrote racially motivated graffiti on the church garage.

"It was sad when we realized we were targeted," said Swanson. "But whoever did this, we offer them God's forgiveness."

Sunday morning's service, in a newly remodeled sanctuary, was filled with thanksgiving and love as Swanson reminded people that "church is more than just a building."

"They started a fire in the sanctuary, but also a fire started in our souls. We decided we will continue to be the people God called us to be."

Police have made no arrests in the incident.

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