PASTOR Thami Gqoba (38) told Daily Sun it is a mystery why anybody would attack a church and burn it to the ground.

“And it is a miracle that the pulpit remained standing, untouched by the flames,” said Pastor Gqoba of the Restoration House Church in Protea Glen, Soweto.

Pastor Gqoba said he received a call from a resident nearby the church who said it was on fire.

“People came with buckets of water but they could not save the church,” he said.

He said the angry congregation wanted to know why the church had been burnt.

The pastor said the incident happened when the head of the church, Pastor Enoch Phiri, was in Lusaka, Zambia. He cut short his visit.

Church elder Vusimuzi Dube (48), who keeps the church keys, said they managed to rescue a few chairs.

“We have been changing people’s lives since 2012 and the church membership has been growing,” he said.

“The thugs who burned the church will be punished in one way or the other. God will punish them.”

Vusimuzi said the fire started in the church office.

Church member Kabelo Mavuka said when she heard the church was burning she ran with her sister to help, but the place was covered in black smoke.

“We tried to save some furniture but it was too late.”

Kabelo said they help in their communities by giving poor families food parcels and door-to-door counselling to those in need.

“These people are the ones who will suffer,” she said.

Tess Ngobeni said the church might burn but their faith remained strong.

“The Bible tells us the Lord will not abandon us,” she said.

Emergency Services spokesman Robert Mulaudzi said a team responded to the incident.