New Horizons congregation says it forgives church arsonist

| January 22, 2012

On Saturday, Jan. 7, the New Horizons Baptist Church opened its doors to the community for a free showing of the movie “Courageous.”

Three days later, that message would be tested. Pastor Roger Williams never imagined his church would become a target.

“About 4 o’clock in the morning Tuesday is when a deputy was pounding on our door,” Williams said. “We have a fan in our bedroom, so it’s pretty loud. My wife looks out the window and sees flames protruding from the top of the roof. She blurts out, ‘The church is on fire.’”

Williams said with the deputy at the door they could hear the fire trucks making their way to the scene. And they started making phone calls.

“Within a half-hour, we had a lot of our church family here,” he said. “It’s still dark and we’re all watching everything happen.”

The church building was a total loss. Williams lost 17 years of sermon notes in the fire.

The church started in 1975 under a different name and with a different pastor. The church name had already been changed to New Horizons when Williams became the pastor in 2006. The congregation totals 150 members. Many of them showed up that morning.

“When everybody left the scene and the last firefighter had left, it brought me to tears,” Williams said. “I walked into the back where I would have stood to preach on Sunday morning and I meticulously scanned the entire audience. I thought about where people sit in the sanctuary. I thought about what decisions people made (in the church), marriages that were rekindled, lives that were touched, teenagers that were making proclamations to be courageous.”

 

http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/marysville/news/2012/01/20/new-horizons-congregation-says-it-forgives-church-arsonist.html

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