Tulsa Church Needs A New Home

Sunday, January 18th 2009, 5:14 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6

TULSA, OK - Tulsa fire investigators say a 16-year-old boy intentionally set the Bowen Baptist Church on fire five days ago. Now the church is in need of a new home.

Members of the church say they'll never again have services inside their North Tulsa sanctuary.

"Nothing surprises me today. As I say, we have drive-by shootings every day, robberies every day, so no, it doesn't surprise me for someone just to deliberately start a fire," said Jimmy Jones, Bowen Baptist Pastor.

The arson caused $100,000 in damage -- an amount the church can't afford.

The building is almost 70-years-old and Bowen Baptist will never hold services there again.

They're temporarily using the basement of another church, a few miles away.

"Come together, worship, just continue to come together as a church family, stay together," said Richard Dick, Bowen Baptist Church member.

Fire officials arrested the teenager on Saturday night.

Related Story: 1/17/2009 Tip Results In Tulsa Church Arson Arrest

The church was vandalized the week before the arson, but worshippers say they never felt unsafe.

"This church is everything to me. I love it," said Terry Dick, Bowen Baptist Church member.

Pastor Jones admits he doesn't know where the church will go next or how many of the two dozen Native-American families will follow.

Terry Dick has been coming to Bowen Baptist for 49 years. She says the church will get through this.

"It's just a building, and a building can be replaced," said Terry Dick.

Terry says there's no anger for the boy.

"It's a sadness because there's a young man that we missed," said Terry. "So there's a sadness there, but if he were to show up tomorrow, we'd welcome him with open arms."

Pastor Jones says a new structure can be built next to the old church in North Tulsa or he says they can start looking into buying a new building somewhere else.

Fire investigators say they don't know what motivated the boy to start the fire.