An arson fire at the door of the rectory of the Shrine of St. Joseph Catholic church in St. Louis early on Thursday was the seventh such incident in the area in two weeks, fire officials said.
Federal and local authorities are investigating the spate of fires set at doors of churches with primarily black congregations in the St. Louis area since Oct. 8, and $9,000 in award money has been offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.
Thursday's fire at the doors of the rectory, or priest's residence, was reported at 1:34 a.m. and was immediately extinguished, the St. Louis Fire Department said in a statement. The rectory was unoccupied at the time and no injuries were reported, it said.
No one has been injured in the small fires that have damaged two Catholic and five Protestant churches. Most have primarily black congregations, although local media reported that the Shrine of St. Joseph church has a mostly white congregation.
The first six churches hit by arson were in close proximity to one another: two in Jennings, a suburb, and four in north St. Louis. The St. Joseph church is much closer to downtown than the others.
A prayer vigil on Wednesday night at one of the churches hit by the fires, the New Northside Baptist Church in Jennings, drew more than 200 people including leaders from a number of denominations, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Racial tensions in the region have been high since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old in August 2014 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.
© 2015 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.
To contact us or to submit an article, click here.
Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.
It's a NEW YEAR! Get ready for a NEW YOU!
- New Year Discounts On Book Bundles & Gifts: Click Here to view all our bundles and save up to 72%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
- Go Deeper with God in a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all eight of our free courses. Topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
- Anointed Woman Of God: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
- Never Stop Praying - Prayer Changes Everything! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
- New Year - New You - Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!
Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for two years for Only $29.97 and get two free gifts. Gift #1 The Harbinger. Gift #2 The Harbinger II. Both books are by New York Times Best-Selling author Jonathan Cahn. View Offer