S. Montgomery County church starts over after arson

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - When pastor Willis Walker talked with WSFA 12 News early Friday morning, he says he wasn't even thinking an arsonist might be responsible for setting fire to the church fellowship hall.

"My heart bleeds for him," Walker said.

Now 4 days later the arsonist left his mark and his dirty work behind, pastor Walker is calling on his Christian faith for strength. He still finds it hard to believe, It's the first time he's encountered anything like this since taking over Warrior Hill Baptist Church 16-years ago.

"It's hard for me to believe someone would do that to God's house," said Walker.

Willis Walker says he's already forgiven the arsonist but that doesn't satisfy the question as to why. Why this church, why was it so necessary to set it ablaze.

While it's been said the people make up a church, not the building itself, there are memories, especially in what was the fellowship hall.

Arson investigators say the reasons vary on why arsonists do what they do. The reasons range from mindless vandalism, revenge or in some cases, the culprit finds the act itself enthralling.

Whatever the reason was in this case the arsonist left a mess.

"We're working with Serv Pro to clean up the church. It sustained some water and smoke damage," said Walker.

The arsonist did more than destroy part of a church. That person also disrupted some really important church programs.

"Saturday we wanted to feed 35 families but we couldn't," said Walker.

As of right now fire investigators have no leads but they have what they consider 'solid' evidence.

For Willis Walker and his 200 member strong congregation, they're encouraging one another and starting over.

Now the good news.

Walker says the church does have good insurance which should be enough to rebuild the fellowship hall.

While there have been church fires in Alabama this year, the state fire marshall says this is the first one that was deliberately set.

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