Magazine article The Christian Century

Black Churches in St. Louis Area Damaged by Fire, Arson Suspected

Magazine article The Christian Century

Black Churches in St. Louis Area Damaged by Fire, Arson Suspected

Article excerpt

FIRES DAMAGED several churches--of different denominations, but all with predominantly black congregations--within a few miles of one another in northwest St. Louis and nearby suburbs within weeks in October.

Captain Garon Mosby of the St. Louis Fire Department said the fires, set near each church's front doors, were caused by arson, according to news reports.

One of the churches damaged by fire was New Life Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis's Walnut Park East neighborhood, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

David Triggs, pastor of New Life, told the Post-Dispatch that he was troubled that the five churches affected are all predominantly black.

"This was done by the mind of someone who is spiritually sick," Triggs said of the fire at his church.

The church held its Sunday service on the lawn October 18, the day after the fire, the Post-Dispatch reported. The New Testament reading that day was from 1 Peter 4, which in the King James translation speaks of "the fiery trial which is to try you" and exhorts believers to rejoice in partaking in Christ's sufferings.

After a series of fires damaged several black churches in the South this summer, Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, an Episcopal congregation, organized the Rebuild the Churches Fund.

The fund raised more than $700,000 through special collections from nearly 300 Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and other congregations. Organizers were in the process of preparing disbursement checks when the blazes occurred in the St. …

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