In early June, the Fowler United Methodist Church in Maryland experienced a high degree of vandalism, resulting in extensive damage to its sanctuary. The historically Black church, known for its red-carpeted sanctuary, was left in disarray with sacred items torn apart and an estimated cost of damage reaching $100,000. Pages were ripped from Bibles and hymnals that had been placed in the pews. Additionally, the upholstery of the pews was ripped when a wooden cross was forcibly taken down and thrown onto them. However, the church has received tremendous support in the aftermath of the incident.
Church Leaders reports:
(RNS) — The Rev. Jerome Jones Sr. is shocked by two things: the extensive vandalism that took place in his church building in Maryland’s capital in early June and the outpouring of support Fowler United Methodist Church has received in the aftermath.
On June 8, the red-carpeted sanctuary of the historically Black church was turned into a debris-filled space, with items once sacred ripped apart and an estimated $100,000 in damage.
“Nothing but paper — it looked like snow around our whole entire sanctuary,” said Jones of pages that were torn from Bibles and from hymnals that had been in the pews, whose upholstery was ripped when a wooden cross was torn down and tossed onto them.
“When we do our offering, we always lift our hands towards the cross for God to receive our offering,” explained the pastor since 2021 of the Annapolis church founded in 1871.
In recent weeks, congregants had to rethink that longtime tradition: “I told them the cross is in their hearts.”
Following the attack, the church received an outpouring of support from the community including generous donations, both in monetary form and in-kind gifts, to help replace the damaged items. Among the items donated are a new speaker system, hymnals and Bibles.
In the weeks since the attack, Fowler United Methodist, which is working with its insurance company, has received thousands of dollars in donations as well as in-kind gifts to replace damaged items, including a speaker system, Bibles and hymnals.
The Rev. Ben Rigsby, a pastor of The Gathering Faith Community, said his United Methodist congregation decided to donate dozens of hymnals to Jones’ church.
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