EXCLUSIVE: Pastor describes first walk through church ashes - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

EXCLUSIVE: Pastor describes first walk through church ashes

By Sara Story - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The same day the latest two church fires were ruled arson, the pastor of one of those churches is coming forward with new revelations about the fires.

Brandon Owens is the pastor at Clear Spring Missionary Baptist Church in Smith County, which, along with Dover Baptist Church, was ruled an arson Thursday by the ATF.

A quiet snowfall fell on what is left of Dover Baptist Church and Clear Springs Baptist Church. Their charred remains, the work of an arsonist.

"We aren't talking about a place we live in day to day, we are talking about a sacred place here," said Clear Spring pastor, Brandon Owens.

At age 22, Owens, walked through the ashes Thursday for the first time.

"That's where my office was in that area," said Owens. "And, it's actually the only part of the church interior which was still standing."

He took pictures of the memories left behind. When looking at footage from above the church, Owens pointed out where he says the fire started.

"They did find some Bibles that happened to be in the baptism pool," he said. "So they believe that they used that as an igniter...to get the fire started. They had Bibles in there they had hymnals in there."

A sacred and symbolic location within church walls, but not the only one targeted. The communion table was also a victim.

"It is so sacred that you aren't even allowed to walk up to it and even put your hand on it," he said.

It is the direct attack at these sacred spots, Owens says, has only strengthened his congregation.

"Even if he's not caught by law enforcement or the people ourselves, one day he eventually will have to pay the price," he said.

It is a message for the person or group burning these places of worship.

Now, we did call the AFT to verify the information. At this time, they are not confirming or denying if this was the case at all the churches.

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