Members of vandalized church: ‘We are praying for the person that did this’

Crime Watch

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IDAHO FALLS — It was a Sunday shock that had First Evangelical Lutheran Church members in tears.

“When we came in yesterday morning, we saw the glass and our special objects — Bibles, a cross and hymnals — in those (broken glass) holes,” Penny Dixon, Director of Music Ministries, tells EastIdahoNews.com.

Church leaders were preparing to worship at 8 a.m. Sunday when they walked in and found their chapel in shambles.

“It was heartbreaking to see all that. That’s for sure,” Andrew Williams, Coordinator of Family Ministries, says.

Law enforcement estimates nearly $10,000 worth of property was stolen. They believe the vandal or vandals entered the church at the corner of Sunnyside Road and Rollandet Street after breaking a window.

“Some of our things that have been stolen are just really priceless treasures that have been here for years and years that really are irreplaceable,” Dixon says.

Windows of the chapel at First Lutheran Evangelical Church. | Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com

The church has been raising money to pay back $90,000 spent on a new roof. Church administrators say the vandalism shouldn’t set them back.

“I suppose there are those that are worried about us financially, but I am not,” Dixon says. “This is a resilient and giving congregation and we will rebound from this.”

Church members aren’t letting the incident weigh them down and members continued with worship services Sunday morning.

“We moved to another room. The chairs were moved and we sang our songs with energy and life,” Dixon says.

Police are continuing to investigate the vandalism and detectives are following up on leads. They ask anyone with information to call (208) 529-1200.

Churchgoers still have hope for whomever destroyed their chapel.

“We are praying for the person that did this because (he or she) has a lot of hurt and a lot of, maybe, evil thoughts,” Williams says. “Maybe they are corrupt and they need the love of Jesus just as much as any of us here.”

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