Fort Worth Church Rallies After Vandalism Cancels Sunday Services

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A Fort Worth church has boards covering broken windows and investigators looking for answers after vandals broke in and caused so much damage they had to cancel Sunday services.

Cracked planters, shattered glass, and crime scene tape may have stopped early morning services at St. Stephen Presbyterian Church, but by late afternoon members gathered for a special vigil in the sanctuary that was spared major damage.

“And we’re especially grateful for the turnout from other congregations and from friends of St. Stephen’s who are here to show your support in this challenging time for us,” Rev. Fritz Ritsch said as he addressed the congregation.

The damage to the outside is only the beginning. Church member Ron Adams says the worst of it was seen inside the education and administration building.

“There was paint thrown everywhere. The children’s rooms are just destroyed. They broke out a lot of the windows. They left children’s chairs stuck in the window panes. It’s a real hateful thing whatever it is,” Adams said.

Reverend Ritsch said that at least one vandal tried to start a fire in the building’s kitchen, but fortunately one of the church’s members was able to get there in time and call for help.

“He happened to be monitoring our systems in the morning from his computer at home, saw something was off, and came to see what was going on,” Ritsch said.

Fort Worth police and arson investigators are trying to figure out who’s responsible as well as a motive, but if the goal was to hurt the church’s spirit, its members insist those involved failed.

“There were more people at this vigil than we have in a normal church service, so think about that,” Adams said.

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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