Possible Hate Crime? New COGIC Church Burns on Election Night!

Possible Hate Crime? New COGIC Church Burns on Election Night! This is simply awful, but we just need to pray for the people that would perpetrate an awful crime like this! While much of our land was celebrating a very historic event, those that would seek to keep division, and hate in our land continue to ply their wares. The will of the Lord will always prevail against the hearts of evil men! Our prayers are also extended to the Pastor, and the members of this Church! Read the Details below from the Massachusetts Republican via an article written by Stephanie Barry. This paper is out of Springfield, Massachusetts.

News Story: Bishop Awakens to Nightmare

sbarry@repub.com

SPRINGFIELD – Bishop Bryant Robinson Jr. was rousted from sleep early Wednesday morning to witness a nightmare in the form of a towering inferno.

In place of a nearly finished Macedonia Church of God in Christ, Robinson instead saw a charred outline of a building and flames licking the sky over Tinkham Road.

“You can imagine how I felt this morning. The voice said that the church is on fire. It is burning to the ground,” Robinson said of the 3:30 a.m. telephone call he received about the fire at the predominantly black Pentecostal church. It was scheduled for completion in the spring.

In the wake of the historic election of the nation’s first black president, the blaze drew a phalanx of local, state and federal investigators to probe its origin.

While state arson investigators declined to discuss the details of the investigation during an afternoon press conference, the question of motive hung as heavy in the air as the lingering smoke at the burn site.

“I don’t know. I really want to be optimistic but I’ve been 71 years on this planet as an African-American male, and I’ve experienced hatred and racism,” Robinson said. “I don’t know what the motive is, but in our culture there is a fault line.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Springfield’s state Rep. Benjamin Swan noted that they had attended the groundbreaking ceremony at 213 Tinkham Road in spring 2007. It was being constructed to replace the existing church at 201 King St. Robinson said his congregation includes approximately 250 members.

His father, the late Bryant Robinson Sr., an Alabama native, founded the church.

Robinson Jr. earned a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts and held high-ranking posts in the Springfield School Department until the mid-1990s when he retired after a nearly 30-year career in which he rose to deputy superintendent, the highest position held to that point by a black educator in the city’s history. He worked as associate pastor of the church under his father until his death seven years ago.

Robinson Jr. assumed the lead clerical position at that time and continued to expand the congregation until it became too large for its current location in the Mason Square neighborhood.

“It was a dream that was some 20 months or so in the making,” Robinson said. “We were so close that we could almost taste it.”

He told reporters he was jarred awake by news of the fire after an evening of celebrating U.S. Sen. Barack H. Obama’s presidential victory.

Kurt N. Schwartz, Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s undersecretary of the state Executive Office of Public Safety, traveled to the church site to stand with city police and fire officials as well as investigators from the state police, the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Schwartz said Patrick, the state’s first black governor and a close ally of Obama, had requested briefings on the fire throughout the day, pledging to pour resources into the investigation.

While several officials were careful not to characterize the fire as a hate crime, or even a criminal matter, others referred to the burning as a “hideous” and “heinous” crime.

Swan and Robinson said the blaze conjured up memories of the rash of black church burnings in the South in the mid-1990s.

“I can’t pretend it’s an accident, and I’m not going to pretend I have a motive, but it was a sinister motive at the least,” said Swan, the city’s only black representative in the state Legislature, as he stood across from the smoldering church.

Asked if he thought the blaze could have been coincidental, or accidental, he replied: “Not at all … There’s always going to be somebody that wants to keep us from moving forward.”

After inviting all who attended the press conference to become honorary members of the church, Robinson said he intends to rebuild. “We will build that church, and you will all know when it’s time to celebrate,” he said.

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