Salvation Army worship center in Brooklyn Park reopens 1 year after fire, vandalism
It’s been a trying year for the Brooklyn Park Salvation Army Noble Worship and Community Center, but Sunday marks a new beginning.
It’s been almost exactly one year since any sort of service has been held inside.
The Salvation Army Noble Worship and Service Center was damaged on Nov. 3, 2022, when a man threw a flower pot through one of the church’s windows.
He later set fire to a pile of coats in a chapel pew, heavily damaging several other parts of the church.
“It was vandalism, vandalism by a single person, unbelievable, I couldn’t believe that one person could do that much damage,” said Salvation Army Divisional Commander Lt. Col. Dan Jennings. “Of course, your mind goes to, ‘Why would anyone attack the Salvation Army? We’re here to help the community, we’re here to make sure people have what they need.'”
Jack Douglas Heinrich, 34, of New Hope, was convicted in the arson and was sentenced back in January to three years of supervised probation.
“We are finally here,” Captain TJ Simmons exhaled, beginning his Sunday sermon.
The first message from the pulpit a year later was only of thanks and forgiveness.
The re-opening occurred just days after the anniversary of the church being vandalized and set ablaze, leaving behind about $3-400,000 worth of damage, Captain Simmons estimated.
“I can tell there was like, nervousness walking in and just like, uncertainty,” Simmons said after the service. “But you know, I’m a humorous person. So it’s about cutting tension and just being people. It’s a beautiful space, and we get to occupy that space, so it’s great seeing everyone in it again.”
Church-goers, like Barbara Currin, were equally thankful to be back.
“This is just an awesome place. It feels so great,” she exclaimed.
“It really made it a wonderful day,” added another congregant, Danny Ralph. “Yeah, a ‘celebration-type’ day.”