Members of vandalized church invite vandal back with love

SAUCIER, MS (WLOX) - It was last Sunday that members of Persimmon Hill Baptist Church showed up for service only to find the church building had been vandalized.

Now, one week after the incident, members feel scarred. Yet, they don't wish anything bad towards the vandal.

At the monthly pre-service breakfast, members said they felt violated by the person responsible for so much destruction.

"They have to have no heart, because God's house is supposed to be held really high," said 81-year-old church member Elnora Davis.

"It's bizarre what some people would do because you know you think some people would rob houses or banks, but they would come and rob a church," said 15-year-old Nicodemus Ratcliffe. "I think it's just low."

Someone broke in through the back window last Saturday night.

"They threw a flower pot in and opened it and came in," said Reverend Jessee Ladner.

Reverend Ladner said the person responsible proceeded to write profane words on the nursery wall, eat food from the fellowship hall, tear a hold in the wall and much more. That damage is worth an estimated $1,000.

"Well it was pretty hurtful for a lot of people," said Rev. Ladner. "I think it hurt more feelings than it did. You know, they didn't accomplish much by what they took."

Now, members don't seek revenge. In fact, quite the opposite. They welcome the vandal or vandals back into their sanctuary.

"Come back and sit down and have a sermon with us," said Ratcliffe. "You know, get right."

"Get your heart right with God because it's far off," said Davis.

"Let us talk with you and see if we can have your heart and mind changed about what you've been doing," said Reverend Ladner.

As service began in the sanctuary of just less than 50 people, they said while this incident was traumatizing, they're stronger for it. All that's left to do now is give it to the Lord.

If you have any information about the crime contact the Harrison County Sheriff's Office at 228-897-1364.

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