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Church holds service outside after vandals strike

  • Sunday, May 18, 2014

This is an example of what church members found when they arrived for Sunday service this week. Photo by Nicklaus Cox

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Vandals struck Cornerstone Baptist Church in Georgetown Saturday evening or early Sunday morning but that did not stop the regular weekly service from taking place.

Four people, three juveniles and one adult, were arrested Sunday afternoon in connection with the vandalism at the church at the corner of Brick Chimney and Johnson Roads, according to Pastor David Murray.

Murray said sometime after 6:30 p.m. Saturday, the glass door of the church was broken which is how the suspects made entry.

Once inside, the suspects emptied four or five fire extinguishers inside the building.

Murray said the extinguishers were sprayed in the hallway of the church but the air conditioning system was on which spread the powder throughout the entire building causing “noxious fumes” and damaging a lot of equipment.

A sign outside the church was also damaged, Murray said.

A laptop computer was stolen from the church but was recovered when the arrests were made, said Murray.

He said because of the amount of powder covering the interior of the church, a professional cleaning and restoration company will likely be needed.

But, despite the damage to the inside of the church, the Sunday morning service took place.

“We asked everyone what they wanted to do and our folks said ‘by goodness we are having church,' so, we held a service under the trees,” Murray said.

As members were singing and listening to the message outside, Sheriff's Office investigators were processing the crime scene inside.

Murray said it's unknown if the church will be ready in time for services this Wednesday or next Sunday. If not, he already has two places members can go.

He said Pastor Kenny Johnson at Ringel Heights Baptist Church has offered for Cornerstone to meet in that church's gym. Murray said he has also been told services can be held inside the Winyah Auditorium on Highmarket Street.

Murray said his biggest concern is not the damage to the church. He is more concerned about the ones responsible.

“Our hearts are heavy for whoever decided to do this,” he said.

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