PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Germantown church was the target of a disturbing case of vandalism, and it wasn’t the first time. A frustrated congregation wants to know who’s behind the vandalism.
“What shocks me is the total disrespect for God’s house,” church trustee Dianne Turner-Whitt said.
The windows at Zion Hill Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood might be shattered, but spirits were far from broken during Sunday service after congregants say someone vandalized the church twice in two weeks.
“They started with the front windows. They took, it seems like baseball bats and just knocked out fixtures,” Turner-Whitt said. “For anyone who would do something like that, there is no telling what else they might do.”
“The congregation is used to being in the sanctuary,” church elder and interim pastor Jeffrey Harper said.
Now, the sanctuary sits empty and cold with the windows boarded up and without the warmth of the electrifying praises of members.
Worship is now in the fellowship hall.
According to Philadelphia police, the vandals struck on Jan. 28 and Feb. 8 in broad daylight.
“I’m sure there’s more than $50,000 worth of damage that has been done,” Turner-Whitt said.
Churchgoers say the church has been in the community since 1967 and they heavily rely on donations. Any money raised will go toward fixing the windows and renovating the recreation center.
“Our whole goal is to reach out to the youth and community, especially now,” Harper said.
As police continue to look to bring the vandals to justice, the pastor offers his forgiveness.
Church leaders plan to tighten security going forward.
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