Lonoke Co. church holds service after arson fire

    10:06 PM, Oct 20, 2013   |    comments
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    SOUTH BEND, Ark. (KTHV) - Four days after their church nearly burned down in an arson fire, members of the South Bend United Methodist Church held a Sunday service as scheduled.

    With the interior of the building unfit for a service, church members traveled less than a mile down the road to a South Bend Fire Station, where firefighters offered their meeting room as a sanctuary.

    STORY: Arrest made in church fire (http://on.kthv.com/H6Pfq1)

    "They're happy to have the place, and it's no problem for us," said Lt. Hubert Chapman. "This is their church. It is their sanctuary at this time."

    Sunday's service lasted about an hour and a half, and Pastor Garren Hagemeier told THV 11 that the crowd was larger than usual. He said South Bend United Methodist has about 60 members.

    "It just proves that the spirit of the church and the people of the church is what the church is really all about," added Hagemeier. "The church is there when the people are there. Otherwise it's just a building, right?"

    Church members said they're thankful they had a place to worship after the fire.

    "These guys are always helping the community in any way they can," Terry Franke added about the firefighters.

    Meanwhile, 19-year-old Joseph Yarberry was arrested and charged with arson. Charges are also pending for three additional juvenile suspects. Pastor Hagemeier told THV 11 that the suspects have no affiliation with South Bend United Methodist.

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