A true story of hope has just emerged from a small Christian congregation on Charlotte’s East Side.
About 3 years ago, someone intentionally set fire to the church’s newly renovated building without any clear motive or reasoning, other than hatred.
The pastor of Briar Creek Baptist Church had struggled for years to raise the funds for new updates and additions, and he knew that his followers had contributed their hard-earned money toward building and its improvements…which makes his response to the arsonist all the more surprising;
“We forgive you, we’re praying for you and we’re not mad.”
Both the pastor and the congregation decided to turn the act of evil into a catalyst for positive change.
After 2 years of rebuilding, the new church was revealed this Easter Sunday – complete with a new name and a new mission. The predominantly African-American church is now focused on reaching beyond their neighborhood and their race, spreading their message of love, forgiveness, and hope to everyone who’s hurting or broken.
This video was just released by the Charlotte Observer with footage from today’s service:
The new church has also opened their doors to 4 other formerly separate congregations, which now meet at various times throughout the week in the rebuilt sanctuary, including; Bethesda Evangelical and Restoration Center, Charlotte Nepali Christian Fellowship, Charlotte Senthang Christian Church, and Myanmar Community Church.
Here’s what the church looked like after it was set on fire in 2015:
and here’s what it looks like today:
Detectives with the CMPD still don’t have any solid leads on the arsonist who set the building on fire in June 2015.
Pastor Robinson’s attitude toward the arsonist seems to be clearly echoed in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”