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Church members shocked and hurt that altar was set on fire

Church members shocked and hurt that altar was set on fire


Last Sunday, tears, theories and shock were the order of the morning at the Church of the Ascension (Anglican Church) at Sion Hill, as churchgoers discussed the burning of their holy altar.

Reports are that, on Saturday morning, January 3, the church’s janitor turned up to work and saw smoke{{more}} coming from the altar and on inspection realized that it was on fire. The janitor threw water on the small blaze and called a church member,who in turn called the police.

But before the fire could be put out, it destroyed the wooden altar on which the communion is prepared. The fire burned through the altar, scorching the carpet directly beneath it, while leaving the church with a smoky odour and soot laden roof.

On Sunday, Janice Williams of Frenches began crying while speaking of the incident that she described as, “very, very, very hurtful.” She is of the opinion that if the janitor did not come early to clean, the church would have been burnt to the ground.

Williams, who is a Eucharistic assistant/chalice bearer said that in her entire lifetime (she is 66), she has never seen this form of desecration.

“This is the first time I am witnessing something like this. I mean, who would want to come to God’s church and do something like this?”

Williams said that when she first heard about the incident, she was puzzled and that later turned to shock and hurt.

“It is very painful…I think who did this is part of the devil. The devil…what human being would want to do something like this?” Williams questioned over and over, while standing on the altar on Sunday.

“Here we are trying to spread the word of God and people would think about doing something like this. You have to have the heart of the devil,” stressed Williams, as tears flowed.

The Christian, who said that she originally worshipped at the St George’s Cathedral in Kingstown, but moved to the Church of the Ascension in 1976, stated “God is going to deal with them, you can’t come to the house of God and do something like this… God will have the final say.”

Meanwhile, another churchgoer Erelda Fergus of Sion Hill said that although she is extremely distraught about the incident, she refused to entertain the idea that it was deliberately done.

“I feel bad because I live near and did not know this was happening. When I heard I rushed here to see what happened. I think is a vagrant. I don’t think it is a spiteful act, I won’t say so. I don’t think that nobody would deliberately come in to a church and light it,” said Fergus.

She pointed out that the person or persons who caused the fire took the altar’s covering away and placed them aside.

“The way it was done, with the cloths being moved, is like the person take them to make a pillow…the candle missing, I feel someone drop sleep or something,” said Fergus, who questioned, “who would come to a church and do this?”

Both women ruled out that the fire may have been accidentally caused by a church member, as the church was last used on Sunday, December 28, as the entire congregation went to the St George’s Cathedral in Kingstown for Old Year’s night mass.

This is the second time that this church has seen fire damage, as a few years ago the entire structure (wooden at the time) was burnt to the ground.

Meanwhile, Williams says that this particular church has seen a dwindling in its congregation over a period of time and now caters to about 25 regulars.

She said that young persons do not seem interested in attending mass, while parents are lapsing when it comes to sending their children to church.