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NFLer Steps Up to Help Rebuild Burned Churches

While Ben Watson was considering retirement, a new opportunity appeared. Staying true to his aggressive playing style, he jumped on it. As a former tight end for the New Orleans Saints, Watson was disturbed about what appeared to be an intentional burning of three different historical black churches in and around Louisiana. So the NFL veteran used his sizable social media following to spread the news and to help assist in the fundraising to rebuild.

He also tweeted the following: "It is imperative that we show this community and the entire country that these types of acts do not represent who we are. And most importantly as the body of Christ, we suffer alongside our brothers and sisters whenever tragedy, persecution, or loss happens.”

St. Mary Baptist Church in Port Barre, Greater Union Baptist Church in Opelousas, and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Opelousas were all burned in a ten-day span from late March to early April. Police have since arrested Holden Matthews, 21, in connection with the fires.

Watson spoke on the phone with pastors from all three Louisiana churches and he marveled at their demeanor:

In speaking with these pastors, I am in awe and inspired by their faith and courage, comforting their congregations and family members. Through sadness and shock they spoke of forgiveness for the arsonist and grace for tomorrow. Most importantly, they spoke of being overwhelmed by support from people of goodwill and all religions from around the country. And they were humbled by what God has already done through this series of events.

Potential Preaching Angles: If a problem offends you deeply on a heart and soul level, that might be part of God’s invitation to for you to participate in its solution. Persecution also gives the Christian community opportunity to model forgiveness to the offender and support for fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

Rod Walker, “Retired Saints TE Ben Watson helping to rebuild 3 burned Louisiana churches,” The Advocate (4-13-19)

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