Church to Rebuild After Fire
By Christal Searcy
All that’s left besides rumble and ash of a Tallahassee church which has become an institution in the Bond Community is a sign that reads “thank you for your prayers, we will rebuild in Jesus’ name.”
In a cruel twist of irony, the church sign prior to the fire that destroyed Greater Miracle Temple on June 26 read, “Call 911. This church is on fire.”
The sign actually attracted passerbyers’ attention.
“We got such a large positive feedback from the sign that we kept it up for a while,” said Jacob Henderson Jr., the son of Pastor Jacob Henderson Sr.
Immediately after the fire, the Tallahassee church was linked with six churches targeted by arsonists in southern states.
The fire that consumed Greater Miracle Temple began when a tree fell on electrical wiring and ignited the blaze, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“I can confirm that the fire that occurred at the church on St. Marks Street is accidental,” said State Fire Marshal research analyst Kayla Anderson.
According to a Tallahassee Fire Department spokesperson, no one was injured in the fire that completely gutted the church. The damages are estimated at $700,000.
Debra Johnson, a staff member at Greater Miracle Temple, said worship service will continue at Greater Miracle Worship Center.
Meanwhile, the arsons at other churches in the South came a week removed from the Dylann Roof shooting at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C..
Six predominately Black churches have burned under suspicious circumstances in the span of just a few days.
Three of the six churches that were deemed hate crimes are The College Hills Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tenn; The God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, GA; and the Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C.
The church burnings have not gone unnoticed by local civic leaders and clergy.
Rev. R.B. Holmes, pastor of Bethel Missionary Baptist Church and a community activist expressed concern about the burning of Black churches.
“This increase of violence and burning of black churches anywhere is a disgrace and demonic,” Holmes said. “We must pray and protest that the forces of evil that are behind these horrible sins will soon be brought to justice.”