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A series of fires set at six Black churches across St. Louis are believed to be linked according to officials in the Missouri city. Earlier this month, blazes were set at the doorway of a church and continued in the same fashion recently as this past Sunday which has raised the concerns of authorities and the worshippers.

While the denominations of the churches that have been allegedly targeted all differ, a common thread is that the church membership demographics lean mostly Black. The latest fire was discovered Oct. 18 at the Ebenezer Lutheran Church as worshippers were arriving for service.

The New York Times writes:

The arsons have occurred at churches with mostly black memberships and in mostly black neighborhoods in a region that has wrestled with issues of race, but the authorities said they did not know whether race had played a role.

Officials have offered a $2,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible, and several agencies, including the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are investigating.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Rev. Rodrick K. Burton, the pastor of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, where a fire broke out at the front door about a week and a half ago, was fielding inquiries from the national news media while standing outside his red brick church. A sign read: “Church Fires Must Stop!”

On Tuesday afternoon, the Rev. Rodrick K. Burton, the pastor of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, where a fire broke out at the front door about a week and a half ago, was fielding inquiries from the national news media while standing outside his red brick church. A sign read: “Church Fires Must Stop!”

“I’d like to see people standing up saying: ‘This is not what St. Louis is about. We reject this, we categorically repudiate it, and we are going to look out for our neighbors,’ ” Mr. Burton said. Black scorch marks extended up the white wooden door in the front of the church.

Like the authorities heading the investigation, Rev. Burton is reluctant to tie racism to the fires although there have been tensions in the region in times past. Gov. Jay Nixon has joined church officials and others in calling the fires an unfortunate and unwanted act.

SOURCE: New York Times| PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

SEE ALSO:

Black Churches Under Siege? St. Louis Authorities Investigating Fifth Church Fire In 10 Days

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Officials Believe St. Louis Black Church Fires Might Be Linked was originally published on newsone.com

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