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ATHENS, Texas (BP)–A Southern Baptist church was one of two churches in the Athens, Texas, area heavily damaged by what investigators believe were arson fires set in the early morning hours Jan. 12, marking the third such church fire in a week near the East Texas city.

From Baptist Press

Local authorities are being aided in their investigation by the state fire marshal’s office and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Authorities suspected burglary at the churches, but Athens Assistant Police Chief Rodney Williams said the investigation is in its early stages.

“I would assume that it is arson, but as far as the motive, we will probably never know,” said John Green, pastor of Lake Athens Baptist Church, which sustained an estimated $500,000 in damage to its auditorium. “But our hearts are full and our spirits are encouraged. We believe God is going to bring something good out of this.”

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