The Christ Church Cathedral, an Episcopal congregation in St. Louis, Missouri, has established a fund to benefit the predominantly black churches that have been attacked by arsonists in recent weeks. Even though none of the churches targeted have been Episcopal, the Christ Church Cathedral is calling this fundraising drive the “Rebuild Our Churches” fund and states the following on their site:
“At the end of June, four predominantly black churches were burned down by arsonists in a clear attempt to strike a blow at the heart of the black community. As fellow children of God, we stand with our sisters and brothers to help them rebuild these buildings – which are not just houses of worship but centers of ministry for their community.”
Christ Church Cathedral set an initial fundraising goal of $25,000, but they quickly surpassed that amount, and as of this writing raised nearly $54,000.
As Spectrum reported earlier today, the number of black churches that have been targeted has risen from the four Christ Church Cathedral mentions to a total of six, including College Hill Seventh-day Adventist Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. Christ Church Cathedral plans to add any additional black churches that have been burned down and deemed to be arson as recipients of their fundraising drive. In August, they will take all funds raised and divide equally among these congregations.
Christ Church Cathedral has challenged other congregations of all denominations and religions to take a stand for these churches: “Communities of all faiths are invited to hold special offerings as a sign of interfaith solidarity against racism and with our sisters and brothers of faith.”
So far 48 churches have answered this call. They range from Episcopal, Lutheran, Baptist and Methodist, to Jewish and Muslim, and are located in a variety of states primarily in the Midwest and southern United States. At the time of this article's publication, no Adventist churches were listed among the participating churches. Additional congregations that wish to participate can email Christ Church at RebuildTheChurches@gmail.com.
Alisa Williams is Spirituality Editor for SpectrumMagazine.org.