NEEDVILLE, Texas - Instead of hymns, the noise of wood cutting rung out from Brazos Bend Baptist Church in Needville Saturday morning.
With their own supplies, about two dozen locals boarded up the windows and doors of the nearly 28-year-old church following a grim discovery by a member Friday morning.
“She found the devastation you see around us here, all of our buildings have all the windows smashed out and then some other damage,” Doug Brooks, the church’s pastor said, as he gave a tour of the destruction.
Brooks says overnight someone shattered 18 of the church's windows and smashed three glass doors throughout the property.
They left behind broken bricks and piles of glass shards in walkways, sanctuary pews, and windowsills of the Sunday school building.
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office is investigating, stating a gas can was also found at the church’s front door.
Church members believe the act could have been a hate crime.
“It breaks my heart that there are people that are just so angry and so hateful, they feel they have to respond in this way,” says Brooks.
After cleanup, the small congregation plans to come together and hold a prayer vigil Sunday morning in its Student Center. There, benches that were set aside to donate will now have a purpose. The church will also hold service and stream on Facebook where hundreds have been known to log on.
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“What you meant for evil, God meant for good,” adds Brooks, referencing a Bible story.
“The buildings are just buildings, we are the church,” he says.
He also explains that the church’s insurance will cover repairs, but it comes with a $10,000 deductible. They aren’t planning any fundraisers but will depend on the offering plate for help.
While the congregation hopes for support, members say they have another prayer- that in place of destroying property, whoever committed the vandalism will learn to love instead.