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Vandalized church celebrates rebuilding

Posted September 12, 2010

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— A congregation hit by one of the worst cases of church vandalism in Chatham County's history held a service of appreciation Sunday to honor all those who helped them rebuild.

On June 4, two men broke into Lighthouse Baptist Church, broke windows, damaged windows and hymnals, stole a wooden cross and other items, and painted satanic and obscene messages on the walls.

"I think that was probably the worst part, because you just can't believe someone could do what they did and write what they did," church member Virginia Neville said.

Thanks to the community's response, though, the vandalism turned out to be a blessing in disguise, Pastor Mark Hall said.

One church donated a piano after seeing Hall on TV talking about the crime and those responsible.

"Some of them just came by to tell us they were praying for us. Some came by and gave us a check and just said we want you to know that this isn't representative of the community," Hall said.

One of the suspects – Joey Polinger, 19, of 28-A Woodbridge Drive – has publicly apologized for the vandalism and said that he was drinking and only vaguely remembers what happened the night of the crime.

Congregation members said that their pastor's calm, forgiving attitude has guided them.

"He wasn't upset," church member Scott Parrish said. "He even invited those people to church, and that really stuck with us."

Hall said that the vandalism has served a higher purpose.

"It's opened avenues for people to see what God can do," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • soyousay Sep 13, 2010

    tater If this was a Mosque.....

    you would have wtached as it burned to the ground without lifting a christian finger to help

  • Internet Hate Machine Sep 13, 2010

    "The same type of people who damaged the church also attempt to intimidate christians each time a christian voices an opinion in a public venue."

    Don't turn this into some lame "poor me" oppressed Christian BS.
    It was some drunk teenagers with a misguided sense of having a good time by comitting vandalism. Happens all the time.

  • dirtydozen431 Sep 13, 2010

    The same type of people who damaged the church also attempt to intimidate christians each time a christian voices an opinion in a public venue.

  • tatermommy52 Sep 13, 2010

    This story illustrates how some religions are supported and some are distorted depending upon the template of the messenger. This includes the right of Christians to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.

  • OpenM1nd Sep 13, 2010

    Wow. Hall as an exemplary attitude. God bless him.

  • cgperalta Sep 13, 2010

    There is a horrible trend among so-called "christians" illustrated by tatermommy52's post. It's the "chip-on-the-shoulder" syndrome -- "They hate us because we are christians"..."If this were happening to Muslims, there would be more support and sympathy"..."The whole world thinks christians are pieces of junk"..."We have to FIGHT for our rights and to get this country back!".

    This last one is the most dangerous and saddest because it shows complete and total ignorance of biblical teaching and, therefore, of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. If you knew anything about the Bible and about Jesus Himself, you would know that this turn against Christianity is (a) predicted in the Bible; nothing compared to the persecution endured by those before us; and (c) supposed to be met with rejoicing by those who truly understand its place and purpose in history.

    Real Christians are never instructed to react with this animosity and "woe-is-me" garbage. This is a perfect time to tur

  • NC Reader Sep 13, 2010

    Nothing in this article suggests that it's "ok" to discriminate against Christians. Rather, the story emphasizes how other people have supported this church's rebuilding efforts, how the church has reached out to the people responsible for the fire, and how at least one of the arsonists has apologized for his crime (and, one hopes, will turn his life around). This has nothing to do with mosques or discrimination -- just a wonderful story about the faith of these church members.

  • tatermommy52 Sep 13, 2010

    If this was a Mosque it would be world wide news. Just proof its ok to discriminate against Christians.