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Jul 22, 2015 | ACNS Staff

Multi-faith Response to US Arson-attack Fund


[ACNS] Jews, Muslims and Christians from many denominations have responded to an appeal set up by the Episcopal cathedral of Christ Church in St Louis, Missouri, to help black-led churches that have been targeted in a series of arson attacks. An original target of 25,000 US Dollars has been met several times and the fund now stands at 236,000 US Dollars.


Six churches will be helped by the fund. Three of them were damaged in arson attacks: College Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee; God’s Power Church of God in Christ, Macon, Georgia; and Briar Creek Baptist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina.


The cause of a fire that damaged Glover Grove Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina has not been determined; but accidental causes have been ruled out.


Two further churches suffered fire damage as a result of natural causes: the Greater Miracle Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, Florida caught fire after a tree fell on electrical wires; and the Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, which was struck by lightning.


“At the end of June, following the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, there were a series of fires that destroyed black churches throughout the south,” the cathedral says on its website. “Some have been identified as arson, others have not – all are devastating blows to the heart of the black community.


“As fellow children of God, we stand with our sisters and brothers to help them rebuild these buildings – which are not just houses of worship but centres of ministry for their community.


“Communities of all faiths are invited to hold special offerings as a sign of interfaith solidarity against racism and with our sisters and brothers of faith,” Christ Church cathedral said.


The Diocese of Atlanta has asked all 11 parishes in the Macon convocation – an area where one of the arson-hit churches is based – to hold a special collection this coming Sunday, “to show our love and solidarity with these fellow members of the Body of Christ,” the Rev. Joseph Shippen, acting convocation Dean, told the Episcopal News Service.