September 26, 2010
It's been more than one month since arson heavily damaged Ruckersville Baptist Church, but its members are finding the support of other churches throughout the area.
Members of Mount Zion United Methodist Church in Madison said they were shocked when they heard of the arson.
"We were shocked," said Rev. Alan Follett, pastor of Mount Zion. "We were saddened by it, but most importantly, we were focused on how we could help.
Follett invited the church's pastor, Rev. Kyle Clements, and members of Ruckersville Baptist Church to his own Sunday morning.
"It shows us when we come together like this, we love and support one another. It's a support thing," Clements said.
The arson occurred in the early morning on Aug. 22. The suspects are 18-year-old Sean Heiderscheidt and a 17-year-old juvenile. Both face felony charges as adults.
"It's almost unbelievable why someone would even fathom doing something like that to a church because that's God's house," Mount Zion parishioner Donna Dyer said.
As Ruckersville prepares to rebuild, Mount Zion welcomed its members with open arms.
"We find ourselves obligated and called to be supportive of him and his church during this time," Follett said.
In his sermon, Clements said church isn't a denomination, but rather a community. Their common bond in faith brings these two communities together.
"We may have a different name and denomination, but we have the same Lord and same spirit," Clements said.
"We're all in this together," Dyer said. "We're in one universe, and we need to help our brothers out with love and kindness."
A long road lies ahead for Ruckersville Baptist Church, as they prepare to put out bids for its reconstruction. But the kindness of others helps to heal.
"Things bring people together, and I think we have a better spirit," Clements said.
It's a community covenant where the faithful unite as one.