Another Church in Canada Set Ablaze

Thursday, July 8, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Police are investigating a suspected arson attack against the House of Prayer Alliance Church in south-east Calgary, Canada on Sunday evening, CBC News reports. A refugee from Vietnam, the church’s pastor Thai Nguyen said no one was in the building at the time of the attack, but that his congregation would still have to be “more careful” in the future.

The attack on the House of Prayer took place amid the wave of vandalism against Catholic churches that have recently besieged Canada: 11 churches have been vandalized since the discovery by First Nation peoples of 1,000 unmarked gravesites at former residential schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Notorious for physical and sexual abuse inflicted on their pupils, these schools for assimilating First Nation children were set up by the Canadian government, but many were operated by the Catholic church between 1831 and 1996.

While the House of Prayer is not a Catholic church, police are investigating whether there is a link between Sunday’s arson attack and the other recent acts of vandalism against churches. "We are very aware of the current tensions in the community around residential schools and the acts of vandalism and arson that have been occurring," Calgary police said in a press release.

"We will examine whether there is any connection in this case, but we are asking people in the meantime to be patient while we work to figure out what exactly happened. Our service acknowledges the trauma, hurt, and anger being felt by many in the community over the recent news of graves being found at former residential schools," the police statement read.

Meanwhile, Pastor Nguyen said in a statement to CBC that he did not know who had burned his church, or why they had done so. "I feel sad. I'm not very happy because, you know, we are … from Vietnam, refugees,” Nguyen said. "We come here looking for a new life, with a new church here. We think that we are in [a] good country … but I think that we have to be more careful."