Churches begin to rebuild after being set on fire by arsonist

Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 6:52 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Members of Epiphany Lutheran Church were hoping to attend the church service this upcoming Sunday.

After a devastating and destructive fire, church leaders are now left to pick up the pieces after becoming victims of arson.

“Only a sick individual would do a thing like this, especially to God’s property,” Robert Montgomery, the property chairman said.

Almost everything was destroyed in the fire... everything but a row of unscathed Bibles. Church leaders say they are shocked and saddened.

“We’re just trying to put things back together and see what we have to do and it’s still under investigation so there’s so much we can do or say,” Montgomery said.

Authorities say the individual responsible for all of this is 23-year-old Devin McLaurin. Church leaders are still trying to figure out why he was targeting churches.

“We didn’t really know what to think. We didn’t know what the motive could possibly be. We knew it was election day so that’s where our mind was. It was a gut-wrenching feeling that came over us,” Ervin Ricks of Greater Bethlehem Temple Church stated.

Greater Bethlehem Temple Church was another church that went up in flames. Church leaders say the price tag to rebuild and replace what was lost will be expensive.

“[It’s] probably going to be upward of $100,000,” Rick said.

In the meantime, both churches say they will pull together and get through this challenging time.

“Our kids are going to meet online on zoom for Sunday school and we just hope to get it cleaned up and rebuilt as soon as possible so the kids can enjoy their space,” Ricks said.

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