There is little that remains of the building that had stood in South Bloomingville since 1854 after fire ravaged the historic building that housed South Bloomingville Christian Church. The external sign, some of the walls, and the bell that once was heard throughout the community is all that remains of the church run by Reverend Scott Davis since 2011.
Davis, and many in the community, suspect arson and the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s Office and Hocking County Sheriff’s Office are investigating. The Fire Marshal’s Office stated in a release that “It is very early in the investigation and an origin and cause have not yet been determined. Fire investigators spent the morning conducting interviews with witnesses and first responders; additional investigators are responding due to the size of the scene.”
At least one witness has stated that there was a man seen at the site just before the fire began.
According to Davis, it would not surprise him that this was arson. He has received death threats largely “because this is a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender church, and people around here don’t agree with it.” The congregation has about thirty people who attend on a regular basis.
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.
Davis plans on continuing on, though. He said they will hold services on the back lawn until the church is rebuilt exactly as it was, and “I plan on rebuilding as soon as possible. As soon as the money for the insurance comes through and this is all cleaned up, there will be a new church.”
We are waiting for the National Organization for Marriage, American Family Association, Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom to condemn this likely hate crime. As of yet, there has been no response from them on this attack on a Christian church.