Tacoma church vows to rebuild after arsonist destroys building

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 8, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Updated Sunday, Sep 8 at 10:51 PM

A Tacoma church held services at another facility Sunday after its building was destroyed by an arsonist Thursday.

Security guards stood as nearly 300 members of the Golgotha Baptist Church held services at its temporary location, Tacoma's Calvary Baptist church.

Pastor Pavel Sandu's message to the congregation: It's time to forgive.

"We have to leave everything that's bad behind us," he said.

Investigators say a 30-year-old man admitted to setting fires in the church,  a vacant home and a car. He was booked on three counts of arson and two counts of burglary.

"We don't understand why he did it but just like all of us he needs forgiveness," said Adrian Miclaus, a member of the congretation.

Fire officials estimate the church sustained $1 million in damage. Church members saved for nearly ten years to pay for the building.

"Finally the dream came true that we bought our own building and to see it go up in smoke was very painful and hard for us," said Miclaus.

News of the arson is upsetting to other local churches.

"Instinctively you go and help out, reach out and offer your place to them," said Thomas Tate, Calvary Baptist Church Senior Pastor.

According to Tate, his church was desvastated by a tornado in 1999.

"The church is not a building, the church is the people," he said.

According to Pastor Sandu, his congregation is familiar with starting over. The majority of people are immigrants from Eastern Europe."sans-serif";">It's hard for us what happened, but we'll fight," said Sandu.

"All of these people came to this country with maybe two suitcases in their hands. We're used to that, we're not giving up," said Miclaus.

Golgotha Baptist Church will be in its temporary home for up to a year. The plan is to rebuild in the same location.

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