Longview church fire investigated as arson - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Longview church fire investigated as arson

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- A congregation is struggling to move forward after authorities say their place of worship was the target of arson. The fire happened last night around 10 p.m. at the Life Source Ministries church on Oden street near downtown Longview. The small congregation had only been together for 3 months.

"We just had a jubilee service and praising the Lord," said church pastor Pervis Johnson,"Then we get that phone call and kind of put a damper on it a little bit, a lot of things go through your mind you're on a mission and then this happens you ask yourself some questions you know."

The biggest question? Who and why was their church targeted, and if they were the first targets of a copy cat, considering the fires targeting churches in Smith County last year.

"It crossed my mind about the fires in Tyler and the surrounding area it crossed my mind what went wrong what's happening," Johnson says.

The overnight blaze destroyed a planned kitchen area , which would have been used to provide meals for the needy. Fire marshals say the blaze was arson and are questioning persons of interest.

"We're a small congregation we're trying to do work for God , we don't have a whole lot of assets and things but we believe God by faith," says Johnson.

Church members say vagrants often hung around the church fellowship hall, whose members tried to reach out to. Thankfully the sanctuary was unaffected, and the blaze does not deter the church from its mission.

"The mission is still in our minds and our hearts to go forward," Johnson says.

The church had no insurance coverage on the building.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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