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When his rural west Alabama church was set afire in 2006 by arsonists, former students at Birmingham Southern College, future pastor D. Foy Hutchins had a door opened to him to become a student at Birmingham Southern College.
pastor of the 300 member New Salem Baptist Church in Bessemer, was a high school student and an aspiring young preacher when arsonists set fire to his home church, Spring Valley Missionary Baptist Church in Sumter County.
In September 2005, Hutchins answered a call to the ministry at the Spring Valley Church in Gainesville, Ala. In October 2005, he preached his first sermon, "If You Can't Help Me, Please Don't Stop Me!" He graduated from Livingston High School in 2006.
Moseley and Cloyd finished their federal prison terms last year. Russell Lee DeBusk was released earlier, in 2012, because he hadn't taken part in the second round of arsons.
The church had to do renovations.
future pastor was able to attend their former college
Hutchins, 26, who will be formally installed on Sunday as Converse - All Star Ox - Womens - White Mono Leather
Three arsonists who met as Birmingham Southern College students took part in five church burnings in Bibb County on Feb. 3, 2006. After the five fires set in Converse Womens White Shoes
set fire to his home church. (Photo courtesy of New Salem Baptist Church)
"I met one of the Converse All Star Modern High guy's parents Matthew's," he said. "They were as confused as we were. They came to visit the church. They heard I came to Birmingham Southern, and that some good came out of it. It did them well to know we weren't mad."
"For all the churches involved, it was an opportunity for them to rebuild," he said. "They ended up better than they were before. For me personally, I got to make some relationships that lasted a long time. Dr. Pollick attended our wedding. That shows how many connections we made."
Bibb County, Benjamin Moseley and Matthew Cloyd burned four more churches in Sumter, Greene and Pickens counties on Feb. 7, 2006, in an attempt to distract investigators.
Hutchins thinks that, although some may remain bitter about the fires, most of the victimized churches were able to rebound.
Hutchins, the oldest of three sons of Deacon Ron and Sabrina Hutchins, married his wife, Robin, on Aug. 8, 2009. Birmingham Southern College's then President David Pollick attended the wedding.
A string of arsons in the spring of 2006 had rural churches in Alabama on alert.
Hutchins remains baffled at the motivations of the arsonists who set fire to his home church.
That turned out to be Hutchins.
"The Church ended up being better off," Hutchins said. "We had insurance. We had donations. The college had set up a fund to help the churches recover. At Spring Valley, since there was no shortfall of money on the renovations, an offer was made to help an aspiring minister attend college.
Foy Hutchins, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Bessemer, was able to attend Birmingham Southern College because former students there had Converse Casual Shoes
"We were number seven on the list," Hutchins recalled. "Our area was on the lookout. He noticed smoke coming from the church. It was extensive smoke damage."
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