Church members react to Matthews’ guilty plea

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ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. (KLFY)- Mount Pleasant’s Deacon Hines said his congregation is ready to move on Holden Matthews’ guilty plea in federal court Monday.

“I think everyone is ready to get this behind them,” the pastor said. “We are ready to have him plea. We have things, like trying to rebuild, to concentrate on.

Mount Pleasant was one one of three historically black churches destroyed by arson in 2019. Matthews, 22, faces up to 70 years in prison for the crimes.

Hines says now it is time to move forward.

He said he hopes Matthews will learn from his mistake and understand the consequences of the actions he took.

“I hope this makes him understand the problem he created for no reason,” Hines said. “That’s the only thing that can come from this.”

Deacon Hines says he has learned more about forgiveness through this adversity.

He said his church felt support pour in from around the country.

“One thing I learned from this and heard other people from the churches say is we are not as divided across this country as we think we are,” the pastor said.

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