Portland pastor staying positive after fire damages church - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland pastor staying positive after fire damages church

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A 46-year-old man appeared in court Monday afternoon after admitting he was the one who started a fire that caused extensive damage to a southeast Portland church.

Pastor John Unger at Eastside Free Methodist Church said the fire outside the church and quickly moved inside causing thousands of dollars in damages.

Pastor Unger got the phone call early Sunday morning that his church for the last 20 years was on fire. When he arrived, he found the place where he was supposed to have Sunday service on fire.

"The sanctuary was very badly damaged."

Portland Fire and Rescue say 46-year-old Jaime Calderon turned himself into police and admitted to setting the church on fire, and also burning a house across the street.

Calderon is now facing arson charges.

While nobody was hurt, the damage to the church, which was remodeled less than two years ago, is estimated at around $100,000.

"We thought we might be able to use part of the facility but that's looking like to be more of less than an option than we once thought."

Without many options, Pastor Unger had to get creative for service On Sunday.

"Part of the building that wasn't damaged so we met in a small room and we had a lot of folks show up. People were sad but also hopeful."

Pastor Unger said he has to stay positive for his church and his members.

"We're looking forward and we have hope."

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