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In the midst of Holy Week, world attention is focused on the accidental fire that very nearly consumed the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Let us also remember the three African American Baptist churches recently burned to the ground in Louisiana by an intentional act of arson in what is being investigated as a hate crime.

The National Council of Churches is grateful for the generosity of many—which has already resulted in gifts and pledges of hundreds of millions of dollars—and the stated determination to rebuild Notre Dame. We encourage the same spirit of generosity in response to the GoFundMe effort to rebuild the three black Baptist churches in Louisiana. Over $1.9 million has been donated and much more is needed.

In addition to encouraging individual contributions, some of our congregations may choose to receive special offerings this Easter Sunday for the three churches in Louisiana. As we celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, may we also anticipate a renewal of hope for our sisters and brothers in both Louisiana and Paris. Our prayer is that God will bring forth beauty out of ashes.