Church Vandalized with Hate Symbols
Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church has stood on a hill for a hundred years. For the past 22 years, James Hayes has been the pastor. He's seen this church on a hill through valleys before. In 2010, it was leveled by a tornado. It took nearly two years to rebuild. The struggle made the new building even more precious.
"Just something to call your own, where you can praise God and enjoy the company of your members, and it's just hard to describe this feeling," said Hayes.
To the congregation this house of God is also their home, a home they worked hard to rebuild only to see it defamed by vandals.
Pastor Hayes discovered the graffiti with his four-year-old Monday night. The church was defaced by symbols the sheriff's office identifies as skin-head lightning bolts and stormfront crosses.
"It was heartbreaking. I wasn't thinking about who did it, but why,"said Hayes. "You know it exists, but to actually see it on your building is devastating. it's painful."
Even so, Hayes believes in forgiveness and a church with open doors.
"I would welcome that person into the church with open arms, and we would pray together. Pray that God will uplift their spirit of hatred," said Hayes.
It will cost about $8,000 to repair the damage to the church.