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Inclusive church torched in southern Ohio

Inclusive church torched in southern Ohio

The Logan Daily News writes a story on a small Ohio church that was destroyed by fire:

All that remains of South Bloomingville’s last historic landmark are smoldering embers and the bell that once could be heard throughout the community. Residents woke early Friday morning saddened to find that the South Bloomingville Christian Church was burned nearly to the ground.

Laurelville and Washington Township volunteer firefighters were called to the scene at approximately 2:55 a.m., but were unable to save the structure. No injuries were reported.

Arson is suspected in the blaze, but it stands to reason that the Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council won’t update their report documenting what they call “more than 600 alarming attacks on religious faith“. (Thanks to Box Turtle Bulletin for covering the church story and this parallel).

Returning to the Logan Daily News:

The Rev. Scott Davis bought the church in 2010 and opened it to the community for services in 2011. Davis said he suspects arson because he has received many death threats in the past. “It’s because this is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender church, and people around here don’t agree with it.” Davis said he welcomes all people to the church, regardless of faith, sexual orientation or race. There are approximately 30 locals who attend on a regular basis.

Davis said the residents of the small, quaint town are very upset with the orientation of the church, but doesn’t understand why someone would destroy the last historic building other than for revenge.

Built in 1854, the building originally was a school housing eight grades with two teachers. When the community built a new school in 1923, the building was converted into the Methodist Church. The church closed in 1986 and the building stood empty for many years. In 2000, a local resident bought the building for $20,000 and used it for storage until the time it was sold to Davis.

The reverend won’t let this tragedy keep him from conducting regular services. Davis said church services will be held on the back lawn until the church is rebuilt. His plan is to rebuild the church to be an exact replica of the original building. “I plan on rebuilding as soon as possible,” Davis said. “As soon as the money for the insurance comes through and this is all cleaned up, there will be a new church.”

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David Allen

You will find if you do some research that there are a lot of these episcopi vagantes (vagrant bishops) in the US leading self-styled small groups of pseudo-catholic, pseudo-anglican and pseudo-orthodox followers. They often trace their Apostolic Succession to some episcopus vagans from Europe who emigrated to the US in the 19th or early 20th Century, often who can trace some apostolic connection to the Old Catholic churches in Europe. They have a tendency to ordain one another and then have a falling out and run off and create their own autocephalic "church". The bishops and their clergy are often lacking in any formal religious training or education. They often accrue to themselves outlandish titles and use of extravagant vestments. And embarrassingly, I admit, they often have a tendency to be or attract gay men who can not hack it in real, established denominations or are unwilling to do the real, hard work of obtaining proper accredited education and training on an ordination track in traditional denominations.

This guy sounds to be one of them.

Bro David

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Bill Dilworth

Actually, the pastor isn't "the Rev." anything - according to the church website, he's the Most Rev. Dr. Scott Davis OSB, the 20-something bishop in charge of the "Parish of South Bloomingville Christian Church of the Old Catholic Orthodox Rite to wit; Eastern Orthodox." http://southbloomingvillepa.wix.com/the-parish-of#!

There is something distinctly hinky about the whole set-up. It's a shame that the church burned, and I hope that they catch the person who did it soon. Maybe homophobes torched it to oppose the inclusive Gospel. Or maybe something else happened. I don't think we should press this particular incident to our collective bosom as a hate crime just yet, though.

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Jonathon Moyers

I'd be careful about believing that this church was "inclusive." I have a string of Facebook messages from this church's pastor/bishop in which he condemns homosexuality.

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