To help begin the healing process, the North Carolina Council of Burnt Churches is hosting a restoration service for the Temple Baptist Church Oct. 13 in Lincolnton.
â€œWe canâ€™t even explain how much of a great loss it is to have your church burned by an arsonist,â€ Rev. Brenda Stevenson, New Outreach Christian Center, said. â€œWhen I heard the news of Temple Baptist Church, it opened up that wound in my heart again.â€
Stevenson and others formed the New Outreach Christian Center in Charlotte after a string of hate crimes left their church and several others burned in the mid-1990s.
â€œWe were able to rebuild with in-kind gifts from other churches and the community. It helps us heal when we reach out an help other churches that have been burnt,â€ Stevenson said.
The North Carolina Council of Burnt Churches has invited the local government, area churches and the community to help Temple Baptist Church rebuild at the restoration service being held at Spirit, Life, Praise, Worship, Church of God at 1424 Wilma Sigmon Road. Ryanâ€™s Family Steak House will be providing food for the event.
â€œWe are hosting this event to give people the answer to â€˜what can we do to help.â€™ This is the event people who have wanted to help have been waiting for,â€ Stevenson said. â€œWe are much stronger when we stand together. This event is about restoring this church familyâ€™s hope and to help them start the healing process.â€
Stevenson emphasizes the deep emotions that occur when a church is burned.
â€œThe church helps save lives, change people and help out families. Itâ€™s hard to grasp why someone would do this to our place of worship,â€ Stevenson said. â€œI canâ€™t explain the feeling in my heart. We are still healing and we continue that process by helping others.â€
Stevenson is bringing her church as well as another from Charlotte to the Oct. 13 event in Lincolnton. She is also bringing community members.
â€œWe add churches to our list every year. We hope the Lincoln County church community responds to this event with monetary gifts and with other items Temple Baptist Church lost in the fire,â€ Stevenson said.
by Ellen Robinson