Note: We provide links to news stories about arsons and other attacks on houses of worship, with a focus on African-American churches. When links are no longer valid, we leave the headline and summary for archival reference.
- After Arson, Faith Triumphs for MS Church,
Disaster News Network, March 10, 2001
On Sunday the 90-member congregation of Mount Center Baptist Church of Raymond, MS will dedicate a new sanctuary -- and reconfirm a strengthened faith -- after an arsonist torched their building last April.
- National Task Force Joins Investigation at Dallas Church, Associated Press, January 18, 2001
The National Church Arson Task Force has sent agents to join Dallas firefighters in investigating the torching of an Episcopal church. The blaze at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection was intentionally set.
- Fire Destroys Century-Old Church, Associated Press, January 16, 2001
SUGAR HILL, Ga. The cause of the blaze at the Sugar Hill First Baptist Church has not been determined. The building, home of the First Baptist congregation for more than 100 years, had recently been sold to the Korean New Church of Atlanta.
- Church Burnings Cause Pain for Thousands, Disaster News Network, January 5, 2001
Nearly 100 churches burned in the year 2000, according to the National Coalition for Burned Churches (NCBC) - and many haven't yet been reported. There were 260 church burnings reported in 1999, 100 of those in the state of Texas, which remains the state with the most church arson incidents. There were 249 church burnings in 1998, 299 in 1997, and 409 in 1996, which was widely publicized as a crisis year for church burnings.
- Conference Helps Burned United Methodist, Baptist Churches, UMNS, November 28, 2000
TITUS, Ala. -- Two local churches – one United Methodist and the other Baptist -- are rising from the ashes, thanks in part to the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference (United Methodist).
- FBI Probes Temple Fire, Syracuse Herald Journal, October 15, 2000
The evidence so far points toward arson or an explosive as the cause of the fire at Temple Beth El in Syracuse, NY. "That we're not able to even go in right now speaks to the severity of the damage," said Tom McClenaghan, assistant special FBI agent in charge.
- Authorities Investigate St. Paul Synagogue Arson, Associated Press, October 15, 2000 (http://www.duluthnews.com)
Authorities have determined that a Minnesota synagogue fire was arson Firefighters were called to the Adath Israel Orthodox Synagogue about 8 a.m. Saturday. The fire destroyed a temporary wooden building behind the synagogue called a sukkah, which is used to celebrate the Sukkot holiday.
- Efforts to rebuild torched church move ahead, Montrose Daily Press, October 10, 2000
The interior of the North Fork Baptist Church in Paonia, Colorado was destroyed by fire April 24. The church was locked when the fire started, and there were no signs of forced entry. Investigators have not been able to determine a motive for the fire or identify a suspect
- Officials Call Attention to Continuing Church Arsons, Los Angeles Times, August 5, 2000
"Churches continue to be burned in what seem to be hate crimes. Some [suspects] are caught, arrested and prosecuted. Others are not," said the Rev. Beverly Shamana of Pasadena, the newly elected bishop of the United Methodist Church's California Conference.
- July 2000: According to the National Coalition Church Burning Research Center
Churches continue to burn at an average rate of over 18 per month, with 130 this year alone. Officials note that most fires are occurring in the same geographical location -- southern and mid-western states. They suggest that hatred of race, gender, or religion were factors in each fire.
- Police arrest three men in church burglaries, The Oregonian, July 21, 2000
Police arrest three men in church burglaries, AP, July 21, 2000
A Tigard, Oregon police official that the multiple crimes were motivated not by hate but by opportunity, even though most of the 18 churches were vandalized (not burglarized). Damage included overturned pews, holes poked through a portrait of Christ, whipped cream stuck on furniture, doors kicked down, computer monitors smashed with hammers, and graffiti and urine on office equipment . Also an arson of a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom hall is mentioned.
- Church Fire Set By Alleged Satan Worshipper, Channel 2000, July 18, 2000
A 21-year-old man has been arrested for setting fire on July 17 to Word of Life Ministry Church, a predominantly black church in Ontario, California (36 miles east of Los Angeles). The man was carrying a satanic bible when he was taken into custody. Federal agents are investigating whether the incident is a religious or racial hate crime.
- Newscope, July 14, 2000
Fires that damaged Providence United Methodist Church and destroyed a Baptist church in Elmore County, Alabama, on June 6 have been ruled arson by the Alabama Fire Marshal.
- Guilty Plea in Church Arson Cases, Associated Press, July 11, 2000
An Indiana man, who called himself a missionary of
Lucifer, pleaded guilty to setting 26 churches on fire, including United Methodist churches, over a five-year period that ended in 1999.UM churches were: Sumach United Methodist Church, Wardell, Mo.; Milledgeville (Ind.) United Methodist Church; Pleasant Hill Methodist Church, Elkton, Ky.; Stidham United Methodist Church, Lafayette, Ind. and Community United Methodist Church,Brookville, Ohio.
- Paonia church demolished following arson, Montrose Daily Press (Colorado), July 11, 2000
The interior of the North Fork Baptist Church in Paonia, Colorado was destroyed by fire April 24. The building was locked when the fire started, and there are no signs of forced entry, Blair said, adding that investigators are not aware of anyone who has a grudge against the church.
- Officials say Orthodox Church Fire Arson, The Dominion Post (West Virginia), July 6, 2000
A Fourth of July fire that damaged Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Morgantown, WV. The investigation has been turned over to federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, who will go over preliminary reports and decide whether to pursue the case on a federal level. That means trying to determine if the arson was simply a malicious prank or was fueled by religious hatred.
- Seeing Hate as a Violation of Human Rights by Sandra Peters, New World Outlook, September-October, 1999
Hate, violence, racism, religious intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry–these words have been used to characterize the burnings and desecrations of churches or
other houses of worship during the 1990s and earlier decades. However, our understanding of the depth of violation caused by these attacks broadens considerably if we use an expanding lens--a lens that amplifies civil rights and views hate as a violation of human rights.
- Jury Charges Indiana Man with 29 Church
Arsons, UMNS, July 28, 1999
- Pastors of Burned Churches Find Support, UMNS, April 5, 1999
- More Than 1,500 Help Rebuild Fire-damaged Sanctuaries, UMNS, April 5, 1999
- Church Arson Cases Continue in 'High Numbers', UMNS, April 5, 1999
- Firefighter dies trying to save Georgia church, January 6, 1999
- Churches can take steps to prevent arson, January 6, 1999
- Davis Chapel Receives Funds from National Council of Churches to Assist
in Rebuilding Church
- United Methodists continue to assist burned churches, March 25, 1998
- United Methodists distribute nearly $300,000 to burned churches, March 25, 1998
- United Methodist volunteers help reconstruct burned churches, March 25, 1998
- The Press Has Lost Interest, The Nation Has Lost Interest, The Church Arsonists Have Not, Ministry in the Midst of Hate and Violence, GBGM, January 1998
- Rebuilding Burned Churches by Christie R. House: New World Outlook, January-February, 1998
- Government Task Force Reports on Investigation of Church Burnings, June 11, 1997
- NCC Accounts for Burned Churches Fund Disbursements at National Convocation, June 11, 1997
- United Methodist Pastor Contributes to NCC book on Burned Churches, June 4, 1997
- 17 More Congregations Receive NCC Burned Churches Grants, May 28, 1997
- United Methodists Attend Church Burning Convocation by Brenda Wilkinson, June 1997
- More Burned Churches Receive Rebuilding Funds, Oct. 22, 1996
- Mailing to Local Churches Offers Fire Prevention Tips, September 4, 1996
- National Council of Churches Responds to Conservative Think-tank's Charges, August 14, 1996
- South Carolina United Methodists to
Hold Care Workshop for Victims of Burned Churches, July 29, 1996
- Church Burnings on Agendas of 1996 Conferences, July 11, 1996
- Testimony Regarding Legislation on Burned Black Churches Offered, July 1, 1996
- Nine Foundations Working with
National Council to Rebuild Burned Churches, Address Racism, June 24, 1996
- Leaders Continue to Speak Out Against Church Burnings, June 20, 1996
- Southeast Black Methodists Call on Christian Community to Help Stop Church Burnings, June 18
- Mission Board to Assist Burned Churches; Lowery, Christian Coalition Differ in Media, June 18
- Oklahoma United Methodists Respond to Fire at Baptist Church, June 13, 1996
- United Methodists Respond Actively to Burning of African-American Churches, June 12, 1996
- South Carolina United Methodists Denounce Church Burnings; Establish Recovery Fund to Help Congregations, June 6, 1996
- Lowery, NCC Express Concerns Related to Investigations of Black Church Burnings, May 22, 1996
- The Church's Response to Hate-Group Violence by Joe Agne New World Outlook, March-April 1996
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