February 22nd, 2010 at 2:15 pm
TYLER – Bringing together its multiple ministry arms, Texas Baptists is assisting congregations whose facilities recently were set on fire in a string of suspected arsons.
Two Baptist churches within three miles of each other burned Feb. 8, the ninth and 10th in a rash of suspicious church fires – some of which occurred in Texas Baptists-affiliated congregations – in East Texas since Jan. 1. Arson also is suspected in the recent fire at First Baptist Church in Temple and has not been ruled out of an October 2009 fire at First Baptist Church in Kerens.
Texas Baptists’ Church Architecture Team has met with leaders from several of the congregations and is assisting them. The team helps congregations work through insurance claims issues, discusses ministry-based rebuilding plans with leaders and has some disaster relief grants for churches that have gone through the fires.
“Our Church Architecture staff has responded by making on-site visits with church leaders in several towns in East Texas and Central Texas to help address immediate and short-term decisions after their church building fire. In some cases we’ve been able to provide disaster response Church Building Recovery Grants as funds are available. In some cases we’ve provided customized concept floor plans where entire buildings need to be replaced,” said Keith Crouch, director of Texas Baptists Church Architecture Team.
“Church Architecture disaster response is twofold: 1)assessment – helping determine the scope of the damage and 2)resourcing – what denominational, volunteer, or commercial services are needed and what denominational or commercial funding resources are available.”
BaptistWay Press, the publishing printing imprint of Texas Baptists, has committed to replacing the literature used by its customers affected by disasters, including fires. First Baptist Church in Temple is a customer of BaptistWay Press.
“When churches experience destruction like this, we want to offer our help,” said BaptistWay Press Publisher Ross West. “We’re happy to help this congregation in its time of need. This is a great church with a great history behind it and an even greater future ahead of it.”
Counterpoint Music, Texas Baptists’ music publishing imprint, is offering each Texas Baptist congregation affected by fire 15 free anthems or two free musicals, whichever the church prefers.
“We often say that Counterpoint Music is a ministry, and with the recent string of arsons across the state we have been given the opportunity to put hands and feet to our words,” said Tim Studstill, Texas Baptists’ director of music and worship. “The Counterpoint Disaster Relief Initiative is our opportunity to provide not just music, but hope to church fellowships in need.”
For more information about Texas Baptists’ aid to churches that have been affected by disaster, call 888-244-9400.