Pastor Looks To Rebuild After Fire Destroys Church

By: Amy Walker
By: Amy Walker

The pastor of Blackey Pentecostal says his congregation poured their own work and money into their church. Police say two teenagers destroyed all that work. The teens are facing felony charges and members of Blackey Pentecostal are already thinking about how they will start over.

Pastor Varon Eldridge says he and his congregation of about 35 built their church with their own hands.

"We had a great time building it, sure did, everybody came together all worked, had a great big turn out to work," Eldridge said.

But after 12 years of fellowship, police say 2 men destroyed all that work in just one night.

"We had just had a meeting here on Wednesday night. I went home and laid down, and he woke me up, come hollering, said the church was on fire," Eldridge said.

Church members say they noticed that some guitars and an amplifier were missing from the ashes, and that's when investigators say they became suspicious.

"Yesterday in a lot of areas where we should've found items, or remains, they just weren't there," said Arson Investigator James Burnett.

Police say they found the stolen items at a local residence Thursday. 18 year old Lester Leonard and 19 year old Tristan Derrick Adams are now facing charges of 3rd degree burglary and arson.

"We're confident that there was a burglary, and this fire was set to cover up the burglary," Burnett said.

Pastor Eldridge says his congregation is hurt, but not angry. He says they will start over, just the way they began, building with their own hands.

"Gotta start back from the ground up. Hopefully what happened here will come to light, they'll get their justice. Cause I'm pretty sure God will give them his," Eldridge said.

Pastor Eldridge says that even though the building is gone, the church will still have services. He says they will meet at a church member's home until they can rebuild and the pastor says that's not a bad thing. Its how they used to meet before the first building was completed.


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