Caught in the midst of a wave of protests following a grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting of Michael Brown, The Flood Christian Church suffered an arson attack that head pastor Carlton Lee said he believed to have been racially motivated.
Not to be discouraged, Lee took his congregation outside, holding services in a tent next to the badly damaged property he bought less than a year ago for $160,000. Lee told the Columbus Dispatch the cost to repair the church was estimated at $200,000 -- a cost the pastor is not able to cover without some help.
— Wesley Lowery (@WesleyLowery) November 30, 2014
Lee set up a GoFundMe page to raise the repair costs and had already rounded up nearly $90,000 at the time this article was published.
“We’re very appreciative of everything that everyone has been doing,” Lee told the Dispatch. “It is really a blessing. Every day God just continues to amaze us with his love and the love people have for the Lord.”
Several congregations have also taken it upon themselves to fundraise for The Flood's rebuilding. Two Ohio churches -- First Church of God and Vineyard Columbus -- are among those leading the cause. Over the weekend both churches will host special collections for the Ferguson church, and their pastors told the Dispatch they hope congregants will rise to challenge.
“The Bible teaches us that the church is a body, and as a body we have various parts,” pastor Timothy Clarke of First Church of God said. “Each part contributes to the whole of the body, and if any part suffers, the whole body suffers."
Other businesses in Ferguson and surrounding areas sustained damage during the protests and had reportedly raised close to $500,000 for repairs via GoFundMe pages as of Dec. 3.
“The many recent campaigns started for Ferguson business owners are shining examples of what can happen when communities come together for a common cause,” Kelsea Little, a spokeswoman for GoFundMe, told The Washington Post. “It’s incredibly heartwarming to see so many generous people come together to help these businesses rebuild.”