UPDATE: A spokesperson for the three congregations whose churches were burned in St. Landry Parish is publicly thanking the pastor of The Bayou Church, Mike Walker, and the parishioners for their generosity.
“I cannot thank you enough, so it is my prayer and my hope that God will bless you bountifully today and forever,” said Pastor Freddie Jack, the president of the 7th District Missionary Baptist Association.
To see his full message, watch the video above.
People from Acadiana and across the country have reached out to learn how they can help after three congregations lost their churches to arson.
During the horrific tragedy, The Bayou Church in Lafayette shows what it means to be “one Acadiana.”
In a matter of ten days, three churches in St. Landry parish were completely burned. Twenty-one-year-old Holden Matthews has been charged for the crimes, and now, those who attend the churches say it’s time for healing and restoration.
After watching coverage on KATC, Pastor Mike Walker and members of The Bayou Church knew they had to do something to help.
“When we heard the news about the tragic loss of these churches, our hearts were broken. These are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and we are all together as one. But, when you love people, God’s people, you have no other response than “What can we do to help?” Walker said.
Walker made the announcement to his congregation last Sunday, and he says without hesitation, people were eager to give.
“It was not something we had to plan or contrive. It was all about how can we help these people and serve them as they go through this difficult time,” Walker said.
Pastor Walker says it’s about doing the right thing and helping these churches see the light in this dark situation.
Rev. Freddie Jack, who is the president of the 7th District Missionary Baptist Association, says the support has been overwhelming.
“It shows me that in disregard to one’s racial background, ethnic group, or anything of that nature, it’s just people. It’s just people doing what they’re doing out of their love for their fellow brother in Christ,” Jack explained.
Jack said he has gotten calls from all over the country, but it is extremely special when another church and their members are willing vessels.
“I even had a pastor from Baton Rouge offer to purchase robes and bibles and hymnals for the churches that have burned. So, we have gotten an overwhelming response from people I don’t even know,” Jack said.
The president of the association says the pastors affected by this tragedy are grateful for the outpouring of support.
“They’re appreciative. They’re just under a lot of stress right now. The weight of what they’re going through is very heavy, and it’s something they’ve experience for the first time. When they get through this, they will be true soldiers by way of experience,” Jack said.