Minister’s praise for people of Craigavon after church damaged in arson attack

The Minister of a church targeted by arsonists last week has praised the way the local community has rallied round.

Rev Myrtle Morrison has been overwhelmed with kindness since St Saviour’s Church of Ireland was damaged by fire.

Rev Morrison, who has been minister in Craigavon for 19 years, thinks the people of the area are ‘tremendous’.

St Saviour’s Church, sited at Drumgor West Road, was attacked shortly after 4am on Wednesday morning (July 22).

St Saviours Church, Craigavon.

Myrtle explained: “Luckily we are linked up so we knew immediately there was a fire and the NI Fire and Rescue Service and the police were there very quickly.

“Luckily and thankfully there is not too much damage,” said the Church of Ireland Minister.

“It is mostly external, on the roof with a little smoke damage inside.

“It’s probably vandalism. I have been here 19 years and don’t think any of the damage over the years was to do with sectarianism,” said Myrtle.

She spoke about how tight the community is in the Craigavon area.

“We are inbetween Portadown and Lurgan and many of the people who settled here at the start were not from here. We get on together very well,” she said.

“It is tremendous the support we have received from the community,” said Myrtle, who added that any vandalism over the years has rarely been about sectarianism in her view.

“There is nowhere like it. Craigavon is great and the togetherness and coming together of the people is superb,” she said.

Rev Morrison wanted to voice her thanks to all the community who reached out and supported her and the congregation during this episode and thanks everyone for their kind messages and support.

“Colleen’s Kitchen in Lurgan have been tremendous. Everyone has been tremendous,” she said.

“We are back to our services on Sunday, thankfully,” said Myrtle, ahead of her meeting the firm about to fix the roof of the church.

“We have a taurpaulin on it at the minute but they will be putting new tiles on.

“It might take a while to find the tiles that suit the roof,” said Rev Morrison.

There has been widespread support, particularly on social media, since news of the arson attack emerged.

Offers of help and messages were posted online with most of the posts voicing outrage at the attack and support for the Church.

PSNI officer Sergeant Carolan said: “It is believed that slates were removed from the roof of the premises with something dropped through and set alight.

“ Damage was caused to the inside of the property following the incident, with no one reported inside the premises,” he said.

“Enquiries are continuing and at this stage, the fire is being treated as deliberate,” said the PSNI officer

“We would appeal to anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area to contact police on 101, quoting reference number 222 22/07/20. You can submit a report online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ or you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/ .”

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