According to local news reports, a bomb exploded at St. Stephens Episcopal Church and All Saints Episcopal School in Beaumont, TX early this morning. No injuries have been reported, as the building was unoccupied at the time. This follows a similar explosion at a Beaumont Starbucks last week.
According to the diocese’s own website, no one was injured in the blast, which “broke out windows, put holes in the office walls and blew apart the bushes lining the entrance,” said the Rev. Steven Balke, rector of St. Stephens.
Balke immediately called police and soon had the office and school evacuated. “The FBI is here and checking the property,” Balke said. An explosive device was located at an area Starbucks on April 27 so the event at St. Stephen’s is not an isolated incident. “Everyone is taking this very seriously, especially since there is a school involved,” he added.
Balke said he is very grateful the explosion happened before he arrived to work. Had he or another staff member picked up a box left at the front door, they could have been severely injured or killed if damage to the building is any indication.
“We are very blessed that no one was injured,” he said, “We appreciate everyone’s prayers at this time. It has made everyone very nervous.”
Bishop Andy Doyle responded;
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This morning I received word that a package bomb went off on the front steps of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Beaumont, Texas between the last service yesterday and early this morning. I have spoken with the Rev. Steven Balke, rector of the congregation, who noticed immediate damage when he arrived at the church this morning observing blown out windows, traces of the detonated package, and holes in the walls. I give thanks to God that no one was hurt in this incident.
All Saints’ Episcopal School has been evacuated and the church and the school will remain closed until further notice. The FBI is on scene and is currently investigating what happened as there was a similar event at a Beaumont Starbucks on April 27. As more information becomes known, I will be sure to update you all. Please be sure to check the EDOT website and social media pages for the latest updates.
Our main concern right now is the pastorcal care needs of the congregation and school are met. We are sending Bishop Monterroso, Carol Barnwell, director of communications, and the Rev. Canon Joann Saylors to be with them in Beaumont. In the meantime, Bishops Fisher, Harrison, Monterroso, and I ask for your prayers for Steven Balke and his family, the St. Stephen’s and All Saints’ staff, the first responders, and all those affected by this incident.
The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle
IX Bishop of Texas