Arlington church finds strength a year after pastor’s slaying

| March 4, 2012

ARLINGTON — For about a month last spring, everybody bypassed the chair.

When the pastoral staff at First Baptist Church of Arlington would gather around the conference table for its meetings, the Rev. Clint Dobson's favorite spot remained vacant. To occupy it would be to acknowledge that the outgoing and talented 28-year-old pastor was really gone, that he, of all people, had really been robbed and killed on March 3, 2011, in his office at the north Arlington satellite church operated by First Baptist.

In particular, the younger staffers, who shared a special bond with Dobson, struggled to shake free of their disbelief.

"It took a while before anybody would sit in that seat," said the Rev. Dennis Wiles, senior pastor of First Baptist.

As an adjunct faculty member, Wiles taught Dobson in a seminary class, recognized his unique gifts and recommended him to the congregation of NorthPointe Baptist Church.

For all involved, coping with the unimaginable horror — one in which Dobson's assistant was also savagely beaten — was an excruciating, slow-motion struggle.

Wiles, himself grieving and conscious of his role in bringing Dobson to Arlington, had to comfort two families, reassure two congregations and manage a very public crisis, the likes of which he had never expected to encounter. At the seminary, he said, no one teaches you how to deal with a high-profile homicide.

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Category: Church Security

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