Reported acts of aggression against Christian congregations this week

Jeff Turner, Staff

This is a list of this week’s reported attacks against Christian congregations and church property in North America. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list.  These are only those that have come to our attention through media reports.

MONDAY 11/29/2021

A database of attacks on church property is being maintained following an increase in the number of anti-Catholic arson and criminal vandalism. The B.C. Catholic reports the Church Attacks Database aims to keep, “a detailed, public record of all attacks on the Church in Canada.”

An arson investigator in the US says fire at Catholic Charities in East Tennessee has been ruled arson. WATE television reports someone forced their way into the building and set it ablaze. No motive has been determined for the crime.

TUESDAY 11/30/2021

The National Catholic Register reports a mob of feminist protesters “viciously and violently” beat a woman outside of the Cathedral of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in La Paz, Bolivia. The attack took place on Nov. 25, a date known as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women.

WEDNESDAY 12/1/2021

Investigators with the Saskatoon RCMP are investigating extensive vandalism to a rural church. CTV published photos of the damage discovered at Saron Lutheran Church in Hagen on Sunday. No motive for the attack is known.

A report released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops documents 95 attacks on congregations since May 2020. Christianity Daily reports some of the cases involve attempted murder, damage to church property and arson.

Police in Sulligent, Alabama have arrested a man accused of setting a church building on fire.  WCBI television reports Tyler McKay, 22, is charged with two counts of arson first-degree, burglary third degree, and criminal mischief first-degree for crimes committed against the Alpha and Omega Church on November 22.

THURSDAY 12/2/2021

Police in Deland Florida are asking for information about vandalism at three churches the week of Thanksgiving.  St. Peter Catholic Church, DeLand Wesleyan Church and Tacoma Christian received damage by the vandal or vandals according to a report from Fox 35 in Orlando.  The TV station reported there was no indication burglary was a motive and the churches are not affiliated.

FRIDAY 12/3/2021:

No report

Criminals trash Kentucky church building


Investigators with the Powell County, Kentucky sheriff’s office are investigating thousands of dollars in damage caused by criminals who ransacked a church building.

A sheriff’s office spokesperson said someone overturned pews, smashed holes in the walls and caused extensive damage to the South Fork Church of God building. The spokesperson described walking into the damaged sanctuary as, “devastating.” 

The vandal or vandals’ motive is not known.

Texas Gospel Canada publishes reported acts of aggression against congregations in North America. An on-air weekly report is broadcast every Monday on our Southern Gospel stream.

(Powell County Sheriff’s Office)

Vandals damage 244-year-old church site

A church building that was constructed in the United States when the country was still a British colony has been damaged by vandals.

Mission San Juan Capistrano, located in California, was built in 1776 by Spanish Catholic missionaries. It was the 7th of 21 Spanish missions built in California according to the Mission’s website. Church officials Friday said someone had tagged the historic structure with graffiti.  Officials have not yet said if the vandalism was a random act or if the mission was targeted.

The mission has been temporarily closed until further notice.

“Mission San Juan Capistrano remains committed to preserving the religious and historical significance of the site,” says a post on the mission’s Facebook page. 

NJ congregation targeted by vandals for third time

Photo: Vandalism suspect caught on surveillance video

A New Jersey congregation is victim of vandalism for the third time.  It’s something that leads church members of Our Lady of Victories Church in Jersey City to believe they are being targeted.  WABC television Thursday aired surveillance video of a man ripping a Ten Commandments display from the building. Previous attacks have involved the destruction of statues.

Rev. Michael Gubernat told NBC New York, “It’s happening a lot more and that’s a dangerous sign.”

Jersey City Police have not yet determined a motive behind the attacks. Anyone with information about the vandalism is asked to call the department at 201-547-5477.

UPDATE: Three arrested in Colorado church vandalism

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(Photos: Thornton, Colorado police department)

Police in Thornton, Colorado say three 15-year-olds have been arrested for causing over $80,000 damage to a church the week before Easter.  According to the Denver Post, two were arrested Tuesday evening and one was arrested Wednesday morning. The identity of the suspects has not been released because of their age.

The trio broke windows, punched holes in walls and destroyed musical instruments at the North Huron Christian Center. A tweet from the Thornton Police Department described the act as, “malicious destruction of church property.”  A police spokesperson has not said why the three wanted to damage the church.

According to file stories, Pastor Renee Coventry says the congregation will hold Easter services in the building.

A Go Fund Me page with a modest goal of raising $5,000 to help the church has been set up.  As of early Thursday morning, the fund has reached $3,877.