Monday, June 05, 2006

Burned Pottersville Church Torn Down After Pentecost Service

The Bishop of Albany, the Rt. Rev. Daniel W. Herzog, rearranged his visitation schedule to celebrate Pentecost with the congregation of Christ Church, Pottersville, N.Y.. The tiny 77-year-old building was burned almost to the ground earlier in the week in what fire investigators have determined is arson.

The fire on May 30 followed two break-ins last month in which the interior was vandalized, religious items thrown into the woods behind the building, and the words “You have been warned,” written in the margin of a Bible. More than 170 people, nearly eight times the average Sunday attendance, worshiped in a tent set up for the June 4 service. They heard Bishop Herzog preach on forgiveness.

“As Christians, it’s what you do,” he said. “We have always prayed for our oppressors. You pray for people. You have to look ahead. You cannot live in the past.”

Immediately after the service, the church’s cross and bell were removed from the old steeple by the Pottersville Fire Department. The Albany Times Union reported that volunteers had to use a chain saw to cut away the wooden cross after pulling on a rope failed to dislodge it. A backhoe then moved in to tear down the remaining walls.
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