Fire destroys Clayton church

CLAYTON It happened on Barber Mill Road shortly after 2 a.m. Saturday.

When fire crews arrived at the church, they found flames shooting through the roof.

Police say it's the second time in a month the church has gone up in flames. Authorities say arson is to blame in both cases.

Christine Calhoun is just one of many parishioners who awoke to the news around 6 a.m.

"Shocked, angry, I was very angry," Calhoun said. "And when I get over my anger, I'll pray for [the suspects], pray for their souls."

She has been a member of Calvary Baptist since 1962. She says both her daughters got married at the church and her son is still the choir director.

Calhoun said the church was in the process of putting up surveillance cameras, since the last incident that happened on May 6.

Authorities say repairs from the first fire were also underway, but Saturday's fire has likely damaged the structure beyond repair.

Calhoun says someone also destroyed the air conditioning unit outside of the church two weeks ago.

"I was just kind of numb," she said. "I'm sorry for [the suspects] and I would tell them I will defiantly be praying for their souls because they need it."

Despite the damage, church organizers say Sunday services will be held at 10 a.m. at Amelia Christian Church at 1696 Amelia Church Road in Clayton.

Police say anyone that may have seen any suspicious vehicles or persons near the church or along the Barber Mill Road area during the night or early morning hours is asked to call the Clayton Police Department at 919-553-4611 or Clayton Crime Stoppers at 919-359-TIPZ (8479). A substantial reward is available for information leading to an arrest.

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