Multiple fires have destroyed or severely damaged several church buildings throughout the country this week. While these incidents have been understandably distressing to church members, they’ve also been opportunities for people in the respective communities to support each other.
“So many people really from across the nation have really been praying for us,” said Brad Jurkovic, pastor of First Baptist Church of Bossier City in Louisiana. “People from all across the community have been offering to help. So that’s been very encouraging. I’m very, very thankful for that.”
A “Challenging” Day
The fire apparently started early this past Monday morning on what Jurkovich described as a “challenging” day for the church.
Thankfully, no lives were lost and no one was injured. While the church lost several of its older buildings, it retains its main worship center. WAFB Channel 9 News posted this picture of a cross that survived the damage. The cause of the fire is currently unknown and is under investigation.
First United Methodist of Bossier City has offered the use of its facilities to the members of First Baptist. First United will also donate all of its Christmas Eve offerings to First Baptist in order to help the church recuperate from its losses.
Another fire occurred that same evening in the neighboring state of Texas. There, firefighters struggled to put out flames consuming Iglesia Bautista El Mesias Baptist Church in Dallas.
Again, no one reported any injuries, and the cause of the fire remains unknown.
More Fires in Minnesota and South Carolina
The Monday night fires were merely two out of several that occurred within a day or so of each other across the country. The night before, in Norwood Young America, Minnesota, a fire devastated Maples United Methodist Church hours after the members had decorated it for Christmas.
“It’s shocking. It’s very shocking to see,” Pastor Eli Somers told KSTP news.
The church was over 100 years old and had no fire alarms or sprinkler system.
No one knows how the fire started, and no one was injured or killed.
The members are not yet sure what they are going to do with the remains of the building.
“It’s the only church I’ve ever known in my life, some 60 years,” said Bill Grundahl.
A Lutheran Church in town held a prayer service for the members of Maples United Methodist.