Valley church reopens after 2011 arson fire

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- A Valley church is rising from the ashes after it was burned to the ground by an arsonist over three years ago.

Echo Mountain Church was celebrating its new facility in Phoenix Saturday evening.

The church's pastor, Rev. Dale Farwell, said part of the congregation left after the fire in May 2011, but many stayed and other members of the community became involved.

He said he is thankful to the community and the first responders for their support over the years.

Farwell said that while many people were shocked and devastated by the criminal act, they have found forgiveness.

"My hope, and our hope as a church, is that someday the young people or whoever did it will come wandering in just kind of curious and that they'll experience God's love," he said.

The celebration will continue Sunday with a heroes' service to honor the first responders who helped the church in its time of need.