Local church vandalized

The vandals caused over $15,000 worth of damage in the church.

Local church vandalized
March 07
17:57 2023

Most people are taught that the grounds of the church are sacred, which is why the congregation of Greater Tabernacle Worship Center were surprised to see their church vandalized in a recent break-in.

Greater Tabernacle, along with several other churches in the area, were broken into and vandalized in the late night/early morning hours of Jan.12 and 13. The vandals caused over $15,000 worth of damage to Greater Tabernacle.  St. Paul United Methodist, Dellabrook Presbyterian Church, Dreamland Park Baptist Church and Alpha & Omega Church were also vandalized the same evening.  Greater Tabernacle and the police assume it was the same group that committed all of the break-ins.

The vandalism was first noticed by Alvin Robinson, who is a deacon at Greater Tabernacle, on the afternoon of Jan. 13.  Robinson owns a cleaning business and was going to the church to clean it with his crew.

“We saw the window busted out and the first thing we said was ‘Oh my goodness,’” said Robinson about what he saw as he approached the church. “As I evaluated the building, I saw that it was basically vandalized because it was stuff they could have taken but they didn’t.”

Robinson stated that he has been a member of several churches in the area and has never seen this level of vandalism.

“This was uncalled for, that they were able to hit three or four churches in one night. It seems like this was planned out to vandalize the churches,” said Robinson.  

Dr. S.D. Patterson, who is an associate pastor at Greater Tabernacle, was saddened by the fact their church was vandalized and the amount of damage the intruders caused in the church.

“They destroyed light fixtures, they destroyed monitors, they broke the doors in the offices, they turned over furniture, they broke the glass door, they threw stuff all over the sanctuary, and they even broke the keyboard,” said Patterson about the amount of damage done to the church.

“I didn’t believe somebody had the audacity to come to God’s house and destroy God’s house. I couldn’t believe they had the audacity to come to God’s house and trash it. Churches are a sacred place and we will be praying for those individuals because they don’t know what they did.”

According to Patterson, the intruders also damaged the sound system as well. Patterson stated that the police department feels it may be juveniles who committed the crime due to the fact that the building was just vandalized, and they did not steal any of the valuable items to resell. He says the crime is still under investigation and the police department has not shared any leads as of yet.

Patterson went on to say that it was probably kids because adults over the age of 30 have too much respect and fear of God to ever vandalize a church. He says it’s a different generation of kids now who don’t have that same respect as evidenced in the rise in violence in recent years. Patterson also felt it was probably youth from the neighborhood that committed the crimes due to the churches that were hit.

It’s not so much that Patterson and the congregation of Greater Tabernacle were angry about what happened, they were more disappointed that it occurred. Patterson stated that these young people who vandalized the church are obviously in need of help, spiritually and emotionally.

“I would ask them why and ask them how we can help them,” said Patterson about what he would say to the vandals if he had the chance to speak with them. “Clearly they have issues that surpass what we can do. If you are a young man and you are willing to damage the church, you have some severe issues.

“Instead of punishing the young men or women and trying to correct them, I would ask how we could help them because the bad things they have done are in the past. I would ask how we can make their life better and make them a productive citizen.”

Robinson has been a mentor for the youth for decades. Robinson was devastated that young people may be responsible for the break-in because it speaks volumes about how these young people are being raised and their values.

“I am looking at the parents because that comes from home. This had to happen in the wee hours in the morning before the sun came up,” said Robinson. “If you’re not raised right, you’re not going to do right. Some may do wrong, but most know better than to break in and mess with God’s house.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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