Following the devastating June 17 shooting at a church in Charleston, S.C., several black churches across the South have been affected by serious fires.
Some in the media labeled the fires as racially motivated arsons. Three of the pastors whose churches were burned in cases of arson spoke to The Daily Signal for an exclusive video featuring them sharing their stories.
“Sometimes I think the media likes the sensational, but I think the clear message that has come across in our case is that love trumps fear any day,” said Cleveland Hobdy III, pastor of College Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tenn.
College Hill was the first church burning to take place, occurring in June. In the same month, Briar Creek Road Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., and God’s Power of Christ Church in Macon, Ga., were also burned and listed as arsons by fire investigators.
“We have already forgiven the individual who started this fire,” said Mannix Kinsey, pastor of Briar Creek Road Baptist Church.
“God has taken the sourness of someone’s heart and He’s made it into a sweet lemonade,” Kinsey added, referring to the outpouring of love their church has received from across the country.
The pastors of each of the three churches say they want their stories to be ones not of racism and hate, but of Christian love and forgiveness.