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Church Arson

If Easter is not just an event to be observed and celebrated, but a mystery to participate in and live into, what does this mean in concrete terms for our personal and corporate lives? […] Read More

During Holy Week, let’s come together as a Christian community and practice resurrection. As both Parisians and black Baptists continue to mourn the loss of their precious symbols, let us join with them to help rebuild. […] Read More

Justice and Mercy

Last week three young friends, former college students with bright hopes for the future, stood in federal court in Birmingham, Ala., to plead guilty to setting a series of church fires last February. They were told to expect a minimum sentence of seven years in federal prison. After that state courts in five counties could […] Read More

When word came last week that three college students from the Birmingham area had been arrested in relation to the church arson in our area, a great prayer of thanksgiving was raised. A month earlier four rural churches were set afire here in West Alabama’s Black Belt. A few days earlier five other churches had […] Read More

While federal investigators described the motive behind last month’s cluster of church fires in Alabama as a prank that got out of hand, some religious leaders were unconvinced. “When a church is burned and attacked in America, faith itself and religious expression is under attack,” Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said Thursday. […] Read More

Nine fires set at Baptist churches in Alabama last months apparently were neither racially motivated hate crimes nor attacks on organized religion or the Baptist faith, but instead a prank that got out of hand, authorities said Wednesday in announcing the arrests of three college students accused of the spree. Benjamin Nathan Moseley and Russell […] Read More

Southern Baptist Convention President Bobby Welch on Monday termed recent fires at Baptist churches in Alabama “theological terrorism” and said he is surprised and doesn’t understand why the media isn’t making more of the story. “These fires are worse than we’re making them,” Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church of Daytona Beach, Fla., said Monday […] Read More

Church Fires Hit Home

The rash of rural church burnings in Alabama became personal to me this week. On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the First Baptist Church of Dancy was damaged by smoke and fire. The good work of the volunteer fire department in the community saved the building. About six years ago I attended the dedication of the new […] Read More

Once again churches are being burned in Alabama. Nine so far, but with great fear that there will be more. We’ve seen this before in the 1990’s, rural churches, mostly African-American congregations, torched and left in ruins. This round may be different. While all nine of the congregations are rural, not all are African American. […] Read More

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.–Fire erupted at three more rural Alabama churches Tuesday, less than a week after five Baptist churches burned in the state. State and federal investigators were dispatched to the sites, said Ragan Ingram, assistant commissioner of the Alabama Department of Insurance, the state agency that oversees fire investigations. “We’re investigating as suspected arson, but […] Read More