Damage extensive, but nothing taken from New Center
Revival services continued at New Center Baptist Church on Tuesday night, despite the fact that vandals destroyed music and video equipment and windows throughout the church the night before.
The glass double doors of the church fellowship hall were shattered and bricks and stones lay among scattered pieces of glass when church members responded to a call that something was wrong. When they arrived, they discovered almost every window at the church had at least one broken pane and several glass doors and windows inside the church were broken.
The church library was ransacked and the pastor's office vandalized.
Church members said apparently nothing was taken, but the congregation's piano was destroyed and the organ overturned. The main auditorium's videotaping equipment was also destroyed.
Church deacon Geoff Halbrooks said the vandalism was first noticed by a passerby at approximately 6 a.m. Revival services were held at the church until 9 p.m. the night before.
Halbrooks said he received a call that there might be a problem at the church on Tuesday morning.
"A passerby noticed the doors standing open and called me."
Halbrooks then called Pastor Harold Brown, fellow church member Randy Whitten and the Morgan County Sheriff's Department. All three men live in the neighborhood and reached the church quickly.
Morgan County Sheriff's department Major Mike Corley said there are no definite leads in the case, which he described as "criminal mischief," but that the department wants to question "a couple of people for information purposes."
Brown said no estimate has been made on the total value of the destruction, but said that insurance should cover the replacement costs.
"I don't believe this was aimed at the church," Brown said. "It's terrible that someone felt they had to do this, but we'll recover. We'll be stronger as a church family."
The organ proved playable and Brown said an older piano would be brought from another part of the church. Revival services led by Todd Evans would continue as scheduled.
Corley said other congregations should be aware of an increased threat of vandalism during the spring.
"We try to increase our patrols around churches and cemeteries because of decoration," he said.