The pastor of a church in Jacksonville, N.C., that was destroyed by a blaze has said that while he does not know who exactly burned down the church last Thursday, he believes it was a spiritual attack against the faithful.
"We will rebuild – and we won't let that stand there as a memorial. The foundation is still there, and we are going to build on the same foundation that they thought they had destroyed. The Scripture says 'if the foundations be destroyed, where would the righteous be?' So we are building on the same foundation, and we are going to extend the ministry out," Joseph Morgan of Wings of Faith Ministries told The Christian Post in a phone interview.
Morgan, who served 31 years in the U.S. Marine Corps before becoming a full-time minister, told local media that the fire "was the worst" and caused severe damage to the church.
"The building was just ashes, the only thing that was standing was the firewall between the sanctuary and the foyer," he told WNCT-TV.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation confirmed that the fire had been an act of arson, something Morgan said he came to realize on his own.
"I felt it was a spiritual attack," the minister said. "And it is. That's the only recourse I have in my mind to think. It was a spiritual, malicious attack of the enemy to stop the forward progress of this ministry."
Congregants of Wings of Faith Ministries have been standing with their pastor and the church has been holding worship services at a temporary location as plans are being considered on how to help the church recover. The building had actually been only recently renovated, which makes the arson attack all the more difficult for the pastor and his congregation to bear.
"The only thing I could do was just really ask God why," Pastor Morgan said, reflecting that thousands of dollars in rebuilding the church had gone to waste, with only a charred pile of rubble left in its place.
"I don't want to say everything happens for a reason," said Lashawn Harson-Worthy, a church member for five years. "But this minor setback is not going to hold us back from getting where we want to be."
One small piece of comfort that the congregation is holding onto is the one item that managed to survive the fire – a red lawn mower. While covered in ash, it still appeared to be operational – a sign that life can go on despite such devastation, the pastor suggested.
"I primed it seven times and I pulled the handle three times, and guess what it did?" Pastor Morgan asked. "It started. So you know what that says to me? That even in the midst of the ashes, [life] is still available."
Wings of Faith Ministries remains open at its temporary sanctuary at 703 Aragona Blvd. in Jacksonville.