BARTOW, Fla. (WFLA) — Easter Sunday sermons about rebirth and resurrection will take on a new meaning at a Polk County church hit by an alleged arsonist last month.
“The building behind me has gone through a death of some sort. But we do believe, we know, there’s going to be a resurrection of some kind in this community,” said Adam Mayfield, Main Street Baptist Church lead pastor.
According to authorities, a neighbor struggling with mental health issues set the sanctuary on fire in March.
Main Street Baptist Church has been in that location since 1947.
“We just saw the building just burning. A lot of emotions, you know? Not knowing how it was done or whatever,” said Grayson O’Cain, a deacon at the church.
Church leaders are working through the insurance process now and expect to have the sanctuary demolished in the next 4-6 weeks.
Then the rebuilding process will begin.
Mayfield is embracing the lessons of Easter.
“It is all about forgiveness,” Mayfield said. “That’s our message. That was Christ’s message. That’s why he came and so that is our message to everyone – whether they burned a church down or not. God takes broken things and makes them new again.”
“We’re here. We’re still together. We still have a building and we just, we’re just happy that no one was hurt. I think this one’s extra special,” said O’Cain about Easter Sunday.
For Good Friday, the church participated in Bartow’s Cross Walk.
People from a dozen churches in Bartow walk from different corners of the city, carrying a cross.
They meet in a park to commemorate Good Friday together.
“This event reminds us that Jesus makes all things new. Just as Main Street has suffered, we know He will make all things new for them as well,” said Matt McCraw, pastor at First Baptist Church.
Main Street Baptist Church will hold Easter services Sunday at 10:45 a.m. in Fellowship Hall.