Churches come back stronger a week after vandalism | Community Spirit
ANSON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - There were few tell-tell signs Sunday to let people know anything even happened at Cedar Hill AME Zion Church besides boarded up windows and fresh paint covering graffiti.
Last Monday the scene was totally different. The church was surrounded by police tape. Words of hate scrawled in red and green paint covered walls and doors. The inside in disarray with human waste covering the alter.
But thanks to the help of the community - more than 50 folks - working throughout the week, Sunday services went on as scheduled.
Pastor Renee Bethea says what's come out of all this negativity is love.
"I felt like God threw me a curve ball but he also sent a hedge around me because he sent me people that were willing to work and the community came together and looking back it was just a couple of hours of tragedy," Bethea said.
Anson County Sheriff Tommy Allen visited the congregation to let them know investigators are working hard on the case. He showed the members a piece of the church's broken stain glass. It's a reminder, he says, that he'll keep until those responsible are caught.
In all, investigators say 14 churches in three counties were hit.
Pastor Carlin Ours of Organ Lutheran in Rowan County changed his message Sunday to reflect forgiveness.
"This has brought our congregation together, and new people are interested in coming to church," Ours said. "The Lord works in mysterious ways."
Sheriff Allen says the investigation is ongoing. Investigators in Anson, Rowan and Stanly Counties plus the SBI are working on this case. Investigators do believe they are all connected.
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