‘The church is not a building': Pastor asks for forgiveness of suspected arsonist

Church building destroyed by arson

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Officials are investigating a church fire early Wednesday morning.

According to the Baton Rouge Fire Department, a building at the Broadmoor United Methodist Church on MollyLea Drive was intentionally set on fire just after midnight on Wednesday, April 1.

Firefighters arrived to find a meeting room fully engulfed in flames. The room is not attached to the church. The building was a total loss. Investigators believe the cause of the fire was arson.

Religious leaders say the building was used as a storage shed and as a meeting room for the Scouts.

Senior Pastor Rev. Donnie Wilkinson released a statement just before noon on Wednesday:

First, I invite you to join me in praying for the individual(s) responsible. In the Lord’s prayer Jesus teaches us to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

What has happened is upsetting and heartbreakingly sad. It is perfectly normal in a time like this to feel a whole range of emotions including sadness, fear, or anger. It’s okay to be angry. I am angry. But please do not allow your anger to mutate into bitterness. Instead, ask God to transform your anger into life-giving action.

Last night, fire destroyed a building. But remember, the church is not a building. The church is the people of God. As the people of God, we respond to the darkness of the world by letting our light shine.

I am counting on the people of Broadmoor to respond by letting the light of Christ shine through us 10,000 times brighter than the flames that burned last night.

No arrests have been made.

Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call Baton Rouge Fire Department Investigators at 225-354-1419.

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