Bishop Harvey Responds to Church Fires in Louisiana
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey
April 12, 2019
While authorities continue to investigate the fires of four churches in St. Landry Parish, I am deeply saddened as a picture of a disturbing level of hate appears to be unfolding.
We, as Christians, specifically at this time of year know how important churches are when it comes to the practice of worship. In just a few days, we will gather in churches to experience all of the emotions of Holy Week. From deep sadness and emptiness to the overwhelming sense of joy and wonder on Easter Sunday. Many of us can’t begin to imagine Holy Week services in a place other than our local church. Four churches in south Louisiana will not be able to gather in their familiar churches this week because of a cowardly act.
While authorities continue to investigate the fires, know this – the acts are egregious in any situation but are even more appalling when carried out in the name of racism.
I invite you to join me in prayer for the pastors, the staff, and the congregations of these churches. We have reached out to the four churches offering our support, prayers, use of our facilities and any other needs we as United Methodists in Louisiana may be able to meet in this time of need.
The Rev. Gerald Toussaint of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church said it best as he reminded us that his church is still very much alive. It is a powerful reminder that people are the church. I have been particularly encouraged by the pastors of these churches as they have been displaying incredible grace, in the face of unthinkable circumstances. They have been and continue to be a shining example of the Easter message – resurrection, forgiveness, and grace.
My prayer is that we, as United Methodists in Louisiana, can embody that message of Easter this week and every week.