SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Charleston community continues to grieve after that devastating tragedy this week. The deadly shooting of nine people at a historic black church has brought back painful memories of other attacks on houses of worship, including a hate crime that took place at a Springfield church several years ago.
In November of 2008, just hours after Barack Obama was elected the nation’s first black president, three white men set a massive fire that destroyed the Macedonia Church of God in Christ on Tinkham Road. The church was under construction and nearly completed when it was destroyed. It took years for the congregation to rebuild.
Sophia Bartley of Springfield spoke with 22News about the two acts of racist violence directed at places of prayer.
“It’s all about going to worship and pray, and we are no longer safe anywhere. It’s so scary. It really is,” Bartley said.
Bishop Bryant Robinson has said that the church fire didn’t destroy their community, but instead drew them closer to their faith. People from several different denominations came together to rebuild their spiritual home.