Burning cross outside Burnet County church spurs investigation


BURNET, Texas (KXAN) — A congregation in the Hill Country is praying that law enforcement finds out who burned a cross outside their church Sunday night. A member of Smoking for Jesus Ministry in Burnet, Calvin Richard, posted the following message on Facebook:

“Here we are in 2015 and some individuals out there decided to put a burning cross out in front of our church in Burnet, TX last night. Pretty sad, but no weapon formed against us shall prosper. I’m praying for the souls of those who are responsible as committing a ‘hate crime’ is a federal offense. I pray they are convicted and that a change will happen in their hearts. God will deal accordingly. The battle is not mine; it’s the Lord’s.”

Sheriff’s officials say when deputies got to the church, they found a charred wooden cross propped up against the church’s sign near the road. Investigators have collected evidence from the scene for submission and analysis.

The predominantly black congregation, 200 members strong, has called Burnet home for nearly 10 years. They meet out in the country on FM 2342 northeast of Kingsland.

Pastor Willie L Monnet Sr. founded the church in New Orleans, and was forced to relocate after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“Things have been going so well here,” said Monnet. “We just put this sign up, maybe not quite a year ago so perhaps that’s the problem…they didn’t like our sign.”

For now it will stay put. The new look does match the words.

“When people hear the name Smoking for Jesus Ministries it sounds a little weird, but it comes from Revelation 3:16,” said Richard. “I’d rather you be hot or cold not lukewarm or I will spew you out of my mouth. So smoking meaning on fire for the Lord.”

Church members have not be told about any leads so far.

The sheriff’s office is asking that anyone who has information or may have seen any suspicious activity in the area call 512-756-8080 or Crime Stoppers at 512-756-TIPS (8477).

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