MEDFORD, Ore. – The Zion Lutheran Church is conducting service again after being targeted in an act of arson.
No arrests have been made yet after the Fourth of July arson, but today the church held their first service since that incident to preach forgiveness for those responsible.
Early Sunday morning burns can be seen scarring the face of the church, but singing can be heard coming from the back.
“We’re going to keep doing what we do, which is to convey a loving God to our world,” said Pastor Cyril Hunkler.
The main sanctuary is still unusable after being singed by the flames.
But amid the anger and disappointment, the church pastor says the community both within and outside the church has come forward in support.
“You never want this kind of thing in life,” said Hunkler. “But it’s very moving to experience everybody’s response.”
The damage, estimated at around $200,000, is being covered by insurance. They say the repairs will take three to six months.
In the meantime, church-goers are working to pick up the $1,000 deductible, and they say support is coming in from all directions.
“In the last two days I have Facebook friends, people calling me, people walking up to me with checks,” said church member Debi Bowman. “It’s just really amazing.”
That support includes other churches as well. Prior to today’s service, leaders and members of nearby St. Mark’s came by to lend a hand.
“We’ve been a part of this community a long time, the Lutherans here and the Episcopalians down the road and other denominations as well,” said St. Mark’s Father Jeff Holdorph. “And we’ve reached out over the years to help each other in different ways.”
Pastor Hunkler says he’ll be handing out a list to his congregation with other pastors and church leaders who have come forward to help.
Between the many efforts, he says they’ll be just fine, even if they have to stick to the back room for a while.
“The old song said we shall overcome,” said Hunkler. “And we will, amen!”