A Virginia state delegate is helping raise funds to rebuild a historically black church intentionally set on fire eight years ago.
Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Gainesville burned down in 2012.
"A young man who belonged to some type of hate group, and he threw a rock and set the church on fire," the Rev. George Carlisle said.
It’s still a pile of pews below charred walls with holes pouring in more daylight than the stained glass.
"When the national dialogue right now is centered on racial justice, now is the time for us to help out our neighbors," said Del. Danica Roem, D 13th District.
"I'm counting on NBC4 viewers right now to chip in to help them out because we can get this done," she said.
The morning after the arson, two Bibles were pulled from the burning sanctuary. The covers were burned covers but the scripture was unscathed.
When the church is finally rebuilt, the Bibles will become the new centerpiece of the sanctuary to remind that the community is more resilient than any act of hate.
“We can be the example that the nation needs right now," Carlisle said.
He said once all of the money is raised, it will take about a year to finish construction.
The church has raised more than $60,000, which is more than half of what it needs to complete the first phase of the rebuild. The total cost is just more than $1 million.