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First look inside arson-hit Bend church

By Mackenzie Wilson
Published On: Mar 11 2013 08:34:18 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 11 2013 08:48:56 PM CDT

NewsChannel 21's Mackenzie Wilson reports as members of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend get their first look at the damage an arsonist did to their place of worship.

BEND, Ore. -

As crews went up to survey the damage done to Trinity Episcopal Church in Bend, leaders of the church went inside, both to see what's left of the place of worship, set on fire early last Wednesday morning.

"It's much worse than we thought it would be," church Senior Warden Peter Lovering said Monday.

At first, church officials were hesitant to share pictures of damage done at the hands of an arsonist.

"(There's) char, floors falling through, roofs falling in," Lovering described.

But Monday, they decided that a view other than from the outside looking in may help members move on.

"Things are as bad or worse than I imagine," said church leader Bill Brisson. "But also, we're seeing these wonderful things that have managed to be preserved."

Early Monday morning, Brisson made an emotional discovery.

"It would appear that most of our sacred objects are salvageable," Brisson said, including, the organ, choir robes and the Priest's vestments.

"There's some resurrection going on here," Brisson said.

Church members said they would like to think the arsonist's attack was random. But a walk through the church's basement Monday morning revealed something suggesting otherwise.

Only certain flyers on a billboard, near where they hold different meetings, were scorched.

"Somebody went in there and set that on fire on purpose," Brisson said.

What that purpose was is still unclear. Bend police continue to offer a reward of up to $10,000 for any information that leads to an arrest in the case.

Church leaders also had a piece of good news for Family Kitchen, a program run out of St. Helens Hall serving food to the needy. Volunteers will be serving up dinner back in their usual location, starting  Tuesday evening from 5:00-6:30 p.m.

A health inspector gave Family Kitchen the "go-ahead" Monday and gates have already been taken down around the building. Program Coordinator Cindy Tidball says dinner will be meat loaf, and they're ready to serve a full house.

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