People across U.S. offering aid to East Texas churches - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

People across U.S. offering aid to East Texas churches

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - While the investigations into the church burnings are still going on, many East Texans are stepping up to help the congregations - even one of the churches that burned is now turning their attention to others.

"We have had notes, cards phone calls...people stopping by...we've received checks," said Liz Smith, with Church of Christ Scientist in Tyler.

The burned churches in Athens and Tyler have been flooded with calls from people wanting to donate materials and labor to rebuild their place of worship. Many of the churches have not only received offers of help from East Texans but from all over the country - offers to turn a pile of ashes back into a sanctuary.

"I got a call from a small church in Kansas," said David Mahfood, pastor of Tyland Baptist Church. "People have just sent money, people have sent cards, e-mails, the e-mails have been incredible just from all over the country."

Fellowship of Prairie Creek in Lindale was torched three weeks ago, but even they are offering their chapel to other churches to hold services.

"It's just devastating to see every building being devastated," said Camilla Charles, a member of Fellowship Prairie Creek. "Why don't we offer the one building that didn't burn to the ground to these other congregations so that they could use it."

"We want to do the same for others," said Stephen Charles. "What's been done for us we want to turn around and do for others."

In many cases. donations have come from total strangers.

"It has just been so loving - so embracing," said Smith. "This is why we chose come back here."

"We have to see the good," said Charles. "It's too devastating not to."

They cling to their firm belief that out of something bad some good will happen.

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