Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Ray Pritz And The Narkis Street Congregation
The *First Fire* at The Jerusalem Baptist Chapel/AKA 'Narkis Street Baptist Church'

Bob and Margaret retired for the night just before midnight on Thursday, October 8, 1982. They were awakened from a sound sleep by the telephone about an hour later. As a pastor, it was not unusual for Bob to receive calls any any time of the day or night. when Bob sleepily answered he was jarred awake, however, by the shocking news delivered by a friend, "Bob this is Ben-Chorin! Your church is on fire!" Bob quickly replied, "We'll be right over!" They hurridedly dressed and within minutes were driving toward the church.

As they maneuvered their car around the fire trucks and parked, the night sky was illumined by flames leaping from the roof, doors, and windows of the chapel. The entire structure was engulfed, including the temporary shelter built on the east side for overflow crowds. The firemen were unable to save the chapel but they were able to contain the fire and keep it from spreading to the adjoining Baptist House. Rabbi Tovia Ben-Chorin of a nearby synagogue and his wife spotted Bob and Margaret getting out of their car. The Ben-Chorins immediately came over and stood speechless with their arms around them and tears in their eyes. After a few moments, the rabbi spoke in a serious tone, "It's arson. The firemen and others who arrived first smelled a strong odor of petrol." Everyone knew intuitively that it was the work of Jewish extremists. The bookstore in Baptist House had sustained heavy smoke damage in a previous arson attempt when firebombs hurled through a broken window failed to ignite a fire but only smoldered, sparing the building but covering the bookstore and its contents with thick black soot.

As the chapel burned, many Jewish friends from the neighborhood gathered around them, their faces illuminated by the flames and with tears in their eyes, expressed their deep regret. Upon later reflection, Bob thought it ironic that some of the same people who had watched as their synagogues were burned by people bearing the name "Christian" during the Holocaust in Europe were capable of shedding tears at the loss of a Christian house of worship in Jerusalem. Indeed, perhaps it was because of what they had suffered that they were capable of such empathy.

After some two hours the chapel was reduced to smoldering ruins with only its stone walls left standing. As the firemen were dousing the remaining embers, a Jewish lady entered the gutted chapel, and laid a rose on the ruined but recognizable piano. When nothing more could be done, the Lindseys and their friends returned sadly to their homes.

During this time, Christians from all over the world had gathered in Jerusalem to join in the celebration of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. Bob invited Jamie Buckingham, who was in Jerusalem for the celebration, to preach on Saturday. The regular congregation was joined by about six hundred of those attending the Feast of Tabernacles as they gathered outdoors around the ruins. In typical fashion, Bob evoked a big laugh from the crowd when he commended, "I was praying for fire, but not that kind. However Gam zu letova--this too is for good."

The Time In-Between, And Efforts To Rebuild The Narkis Street Congregation:

The January 25, 1985 issue of The Jerusalem Post gave a lengthy account of the demonstration against the beleaguared Baptist church.

Fifty people took part in a demonstration opposite the Baptist Church in Narkis Street, Rehavia, on Wednesday afternoon, protesting against plans to rebuild the burnt-out church building.

Most of the protesters were ultra-Orthodox residents from other neighborhoods. A few live on Narkis Street.

The protesters said the church held "missionary activities" and that it disrupted the peace on Shabbat. They held signs saying "We don't want a missionary center here," and "Get out, Get out."

Alona Lunzer, one of the local residents who organized the demonstration, said: 'They are planning to build acampus here. Some 200 people come here on Shabbat, and none are from the neighborhood. I myself am not religious, but a lot of the residents are.

"Most of the neighbors agree with us, she said.

One of the neighbors, watching from adistance, disagreed. "Look at them - there are only a handful of Narkis Street residents among the demonstrators," he said. The man refused to be identified, saying "You think I want my car blown up?"

Opposition to the church was stepped up as the building plans reached the final stage.

The plans call for a three-storey building on the church's Narkis Street site, where the original 1929 building was destroyed by arson two years ago. No one was ever charged for the offense.

Local ultra-Orthodox politicians have opposed the church since plans for its restoration were first drawn up two years ago. The plans are due to be discussed soon in the regional planning committee, which may give the final approval.

Demonstrator Gershon Holzer, who lives on the neighbouring Hagidem Street, said many local residents are opposed to the rebuilding of the church. "The Church disrupts the Shabbat peace and lowers the quality of life in our quiet residential area," he said.

Rev. Bob Lindsay, minister of the church, denied that his congregation disrupted the peace. "We have heardcomplaints from only three people" he said.

He charged that the billboard posters and leaflets distributed in neighbourhood mailboxes, calling residents to the demonstrations, were full of misrepresentations.

"They quote me in interviews saying things I don't even remember saying - that I convince Jews to convert," said Lindsay. "The leaflets say all attempts to discuss the matter with the Rev. Lindsay were fruitless. That is an absolute lie -they have never come to me," he added.

Although local residents insisted that they had organized Wednesday's demonstration, the billboard posters were signed by Yad La'ahirn, an anti-missionary organization.

The Baptist Church News of June 13, 1985, reports:

The highest court in Israel has asked a Baptist congregation to leave a Jewish area of Jerusalem before it builds a new sanctuary. Israel's High Court made therequest while reviewing a suit filed by the Narkis Street Baptist Church against a district planning commission, which last year refused to issue the church a building permit.

The Narkis Street church has been meeting in a tentlike structure since 1982 when its building was destroyed by arson. The congregation wants to replace its burned-out chapel with a $1 million facility, including a 400-seat auditorium, several classrooms, and office space.

The rebuilding plan was approved by Mayor Teddy Kollek, various municipal agencies, and the Jerusalem city council. But last fall, a district planning commission decided to allow only the building of a structure similar to the congregation's original 60-seat chapel. The church then filed suit in Israel's High Court.

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups have demonstrated against the church's plan to rebuild. Among other objections, they say the Baptists' singing disrupts the Narkis Street neighborhood and that their parked cars clog the streets. Pat Hoaldridge, acting chairman of Southern Baptist representatives in Israel, says the High Court's request for the church to move indicates the judges did not want to risk raising religious tensions further.

"You have to understand the climate in the country at this time," Hoaldridge says. "The rise of religious feelings regarding what the people would call missionary activity ... is playing a part in this case."

The High Court said it would not rule on the church's suit against the district planning commission for two months. The delay is designed to give the Narkis Street congregation and the Baptist Convention of Israel time to consider trading the church property for another site in Jerusalem.

Lawyers for the church have recommended that the Baptists move on the condition the church's building will be approved as submitted. At press time, the congregation had not made a decision.

More on The Narkis Street Congregation (The Second Fire Set By Arsonist's) In The New Church

Jewish extremists burn Narkis Street Baptist Church in Jerusalem
At 10:47 PM Tuesday night October 23, 2007 Joe Broom received a phone call from neighbors saying the Baptist Church on Narkis Street in central Jerusalem was on fire. Broom, an American, serves as the church???s business service manager. By the time he arrived on the scene, three fire trucks and a dozen firefighters had the blaze extinguished. There was no sign of forced entry and the fire had been deliberately laid using sacks of garbage and other combustibles in three separate areas of the inner sanctuary. Thirty to forty chairs were completely burned and the interior of the building was filled with smoke, causing heavy smoke damage.

The church is currently shared by several congregations, including Ex-patriots, Russian Christians and Messianic Jews. In 1982, it was burned down by a group of Nationalist Jewish group and later rebuilt, said pastor Charles Kopp. Several years ago a fire bomb was thrown into a book store at the front of the church, but no one was ever convicted of the crime.

"We all still need to learn the lessons of tolerance and to accept the different among us," said Kopp, an American who grew up in Los Angeles. "We don't suspect anyone specific, but they were extremists for sure."

Contrary to earlier reports, no Bibles were burned in the fire. There were no threats received in previous weeks and there are to date no suspects. In response to the attack, the Israeli office of the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate crimes, called for tolerance.

"The ADL strongly condemned this arson and apparent hate crime," the New-York based organization said. "We urged authorities to do everything in their power to protect all religious sites and see that the perpetrators of the crime are brought to justice."

The quick response of the neighbors saved the church from certain destruction. ???I???m very thankful for the graciousness of our friends and neighbors and the Israeli rescue teams were very quick to resond.??? Mr. Broom said.

This is a small sampler of what Messianic Jews and their supporters face on a DAILY basis in Israel.

Most of this comes from the Ultra-Orthodox extremist's.

I think all of this speaks for itself, people who throw fire bombs in the middle of the night, instead of looking at you face-to-face saying "I have a REAL problem with what you believe".

In my opinion, the Ultra-Orthodox, and anyone who acts like them, and supports their underhanded efforts, are COWARDS.


Messages In This Thread
Re: Ray Pritz And The Narkis Street Congregation - by *Albion* - 05-11-2008, 07:08 PM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)