Victims of Arson Worship Together Again

By: Chris Brennaman
By: Chris Brennaman

It wasn't your typical church sanctuary, but members of the Gallilee Baptist Church say it didn't matter.

The church that burned to the ground was only a building, so the church worshipped in the gymnasium of North Sumter Junior High School on Sunday.

Pastor Bob Little had originally planned to hold the service on the church grounds. He was going to give his message from the front steps with what remains of his church behind him.

The cold weather forced them indoors. He says it is still hard for him to think about the fire.

"Anytime that you think about something that you had a great love for and somebody came in and blatantly destroyed it without any reason and it takes away a lot of your history and heritage," said Little. "It's definitely going to be emotional for you."

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley promised that the state would do anything it could to help all of the churches that were burned. Since that time, the Alabama Legislature has been trying to determine exactly what it could do to help.

"There has been some money set aside to give these churches to get started with some things they need to get done. There are other resources out there: contacting the Southern Baptist Association, other agencies, Habitat to try to rebuild and just bringing in partnerships and that's what we've been working on for the last week and a half trying to bring some partnerships together," said Alabama Senator Bobby Singleton.

Pastor Little hopes that some of the money that the state will provide will not only cover the costs of rebuilding his church, but also to help prevent future incidents.

"We're hoping that our rural community can be able to have some type of 911 system put in place, enough funding could come in that we could be able to help our Sheriff's Department to be able to put enough officers in these rural areas," said the pastor.

And he says that he is continuing to pray for those that burned his church.

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