Word of Life Bible Institute student burns New York church for deviating from the "word of God"

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Caleb Uriah Lussier, 20, a student at Word of Life Bible Institute, has been arrested and charged with two felony counts of third degree burglary and one count of felony third degree arson of Christ Episcopal Church in Pottersville, New York, on May 30th, after first collecting and placing the bibles out of reach of the fire.

Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland said Lussier confessed to the burning the church, saying Lussier Christ Church had deviated from the Bible and the word of God.

Police reported that Mr. Lussier confessed to stealing from the church twice in May and he described to authorities how he used gas to set the fire itself. He allegedly also confessed to sending threatening letters to a church in Plymouth, and setting a fire to the New Testament Church in his hometown in December, 2005.

Authorities were put onto Mr. Lussier's trail by way of a tip from a congregant from another community church who reported that Mr. Lussier looked out of place when he attended services. At that point Mr. Lussier had no police record and a connection had not been made between the Pottersville church arson case and the Plymouth church fire where, similarly, a bag of Bibles had been previously saved from the arson.

Mr. Lussier is currently in Warren County jail on a $250,000 cash bail or a $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear back in court later this month.

Christ Episcopal Church serves a parish of about 15 people.

Word of Life is a large evangelical fundamentalist youth ministry with major campuses in Schroom Lake, NY, Florida, and California, and smaller campuses in 46 countries.