Coffee church arson a hate crime? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Coffee church arson a hate crime?

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COFFEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

It was long held dream of Bishop Troy Moore damaged by an arsonist.

The Mind of Christ of The Living God Ministries was under construction when someone torched it early Sunday causing about $80,000 in damage.

And there are signs this could be a hate crime.

"They stacked the pews up they say. They stacked the pews up and that's where the fire started from," he said.

The pews where members would have sat were burnt like firewood. No music will come from the church organ melted by the blaze.

Since June 2011, members of the church, which is located on Highway 32 near Douglas, had spent their own time building their new church home, but even the tools they used are charred.

And it's not just lost time and material says Moore, it's the fact the act was criminal that hurts the most.

"It's the Devil. That's really the only word I can say. It's the Devil," he said.

The arsonist left behind signs of hate. Swastikas were spray painted on the back wall of the church.

Whoever did it the State Fire Marshal wants them caught.

"There's a reward being offered through the Georgia Arson Control Board up to $10,000 upon conviction," said Coffee County Fire Chief Steve Carver.

"This is a real pitiful thing to do," said Pastor Donald Moore from Broxton.

He came out to show his support for his fellow clergy,

"They've got to be caught," he said.  "This is not the first time they've done churches like this and they've got to be stopped."

Just two months away from opening, it's a setback.

"He's a waymaker. I built it by faith so I'm still standing on God and believing in God and keeping the faith," said Moore.

Whether it was the work of a hate group or a lone arsonist who wanted it to appear as such, that's under investigation.

If you have information that could help investigators contact The Georgia Arson Hotline at 1-800-282-5804.