A church in Kansas City was set on fire early Wednesday morning, leaving extensive water and smoke damage, as well as destroying charity items that were meant for those in need in the community.
Footage from the church’s security cameras captured a lone man, who has yet to be identified, lighting the building on fire at 3 AM.
The church’s administrative assistance, Liz Williams, called the footage “heart-wrenching.”
“This is a great ministry,” she told local news 41 KSHB. “It serves the community. Our pastor is a loving pastor. We welcome people in, we go out and we assist people. So to see this, it’s just been one of the things I don’t understand.”
Beyond Thee Four Walls Outreach Ministry is led by Minister Michael Higgins. According to a post on the church’s Facebook page, the fire destroyed their fellowship hall, youth classroom, clothes-drive closet, and food pantry.
41 KSHB reported that the church had been storing nearly a dozen bags of clothes to be given to women and children in need, the homeless, and others in difficult situations. All the clothes were destroyed by the fire.
Despite the damage and the uncertain future the church now faces, Pastor Higgins extended forgiveness to the arsonist. “God forgives us and we have to be forgiving also. So, you know, we might be angry at the act, but not at the individual. We’re going to pray for him.”
Williams agreed with her pastor, saying of the arsonist that “God loves him in spite of whatever the circumstances.”
“We genuinely try to bring a light to a dark and dying world, you know?” Higgins said of their ministry. “We give hope to guys who might seem like the time is hopeless around here…”
The man has yet to be identified or caught. The Kansas City, Missouri Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are offering up to a $5,000 reward for any information that could lead to the man’s arrest.
*BEYOND Thee Four Walls Outreach Ministry Church
— kcpolice (@kcpolice) August 26, 2020