An Opelousas church is asking a thief to come forward — no questions asked.
The congregation is already the victim of an alleged arson this year.
“It’s not just a setback but an insult to injury said Mouth Pleasant Baptist Church pastor Gerald Toussaint.
This April fires gutted three churches in St. Landry Parish.
Holden Matthews of Opelousas is charged with arson and hate crimes.
“It didn’t take long before the devil takes it from you,” said Toussaint.
This week another piece of the church is missing.
A surviving cross that was supposed to be part of the new building.
“Like the church is being resurrected and here is the symbol of the resurrection. What else better than the cross?” asks the pastor.
“The cross isn’t the only relic from the church that is going into the design of this new building.
Even though all the wood burned out, some of the bricks and the glass from the old building is going into the new design.
“We obviously can’t rebuild the church the way it was, so we’re trying to do something new, something fresh,” explains architect Stephen Ortego.
He just finished the design when for the new building, when the cross was discovered missing.
Ortego and the church are asking whoever has it to bring it back with no consequences.
“I don’t want to go to the court. I don’t want any policemen. just bring me the cross,” Toussaint says.
And if they don’t get the cross they know they’ll get through this challenge just like the last one.
“In all of this, there is a bright side. it’s going to be alright. he says, ‘Lo, I am with you always even until the end of the world'”, Toussaint says.
The full design for the new building is expected to be revealed soon. The church may have to get a replica cross if the original isn’t returned, but of course, it would mean so much more to have that piece of history where it belongs.
The suspect, Holden Matthews, is facing both state and federal charges for allegedly burning down three St. Landry Parish Churches.
pre-trial motions on the state charges will take place in November, while the trial is scheduled for January 2020.
Matthews’ federal trial will take place on February 10th.