Vietnamese Baptist Church Burns During Philadelphia Protests


Adam Barnes General Assignment Reporter
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A Vietnamese Baptist Church building was burned Tuesday during the second night of protests in Philadelphia over the Oct. 26 police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr., the Baptist Press reported.

Pastor Philip Pham said a church member’s friend saw the fire and trucks at the church, according to the report. Pham said the building is a “total loss.”

“I have no idea why they attacked our church,” Pham said. “They burned it from the roof. They threw flammable chemicals on the roof and [flames] burned through the roof.” (RELATED: Mass Rioting And Looting In Philadelphia Following Police Shooting)

Pham’s main concern, per the Baptist Press, were three hard drives that contained 15 years worth of information about the church, which served as a center to help the community with taxes and immigration paperwork and to provide marriage counseling.

“I prayed right away: ‘God, please protect the hard drives,’” Pham recalled, according to the article. “Other stuff can be recovered. But those files will never be recovered.”

“I saw the routers and modems and things surrounding the hard drives all burned, melted,” he said. “But that piece of hard drive, no harm. No harm at all. Just two feet above that, all melted. … That is amazing how God knows our needs and answers our prayers. He is an almighty God. He granted our prayer.”

Pham said the church was mainly meeting online and is looking for a space to broadcast the next Sunday service.

“Remember us in your prayer in time of need like this,” he urged Southern Baptists. “The church members here need encouragement,” Pham said.

Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President and CEO Ronnie Floyd told the Baptist Press he was “deeply saddened” by the event.

“We are praying for Pastor Pham as he seeks to rebuild and to minister to the community,” Floyd said, per the report. “We must pray that our churches who are caught in the middle of senseless violence can be a light for the Gospel in their cities.”

Authorities discovered Wednesday a van filled with explosives during the third evening of protests, according to FOX 29.