Delaware community members gathered Thursday, to pray for a man accused of burning their church earlier this week.
The incident happened on Monday night at the Reach Church in Bear.
Pastor Chuck Betters led in prayer saying, “Lord I pray for the individual who did this.” Jordan Schoenberger is a church elder and said, “We believe in redemption.”
“The church is going to be forgiving,” said Johnny Orejuela.
A fire at Reach Church in Bear, Delaware is being investigated as an act of arson and Thomas Loftis III is accused of setting fire to the church. He is now being charged with arson and burglary. The church suffered extensive smoke and water damage.
“Several pews were set on fire throughout the building. There was equipment thrown off the balcony. When we got here, they were drilling through the steeple to release the smoke,” said Betters.
Members prayed on Thursday night for healing and for Loftis. Pat Gardner of Bear said, “I think the church is going to grow and be stronger.”
Schoenberger said, “This is really special to see. This is our church, the people are our church. We’re more than a building.”
“We would absolutely forgive him and welcome him. He needs Jesus,” said Betters.
Betters says they will be back in church soon and that it will be rebuilt.