Luther Church Building Vandalized

Bison Blinds

For over 70 years, the flock of Luther’s Church of the Living God has met on the hill on South Main Street. Last Sunday morning’s gathering brought shock as members discovered graffiti spray-painted on the building and the old parsonage.

The Luther Police Department is investigating the vandalism as a possible hate crime and will share its findings with federal authorities.

Was the graffiti racially motivated? Anti-church motivated? The unfortunate activity of bored kids with bad art skills and a can of spray paint? The investigation might reveal the why. Time will show whether it will be tolerated in the community.

The Church of the Living God, along with other Luther congregations, is part of the Ministerial Alliance—joining for revivals and pooling resources to award high school scholarships and help those in need. They do good. Did that make them a target? Pastor Dwight Guy said it’s possible.

“The devil targets you when you do what is good,” he said. Pastor Guy said they were the only ones vandalized in the area, including the homes on either side of the buildings. “Did we make somebody mad?”

In 2016, Pastor Guy spoke as part of a weeklong revival held at different church buildings in town. His talk reflected a verse, “Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters.” (Hebrews 13:1)

“Sometimes Christians can be like apples, talk good, look good but nasty on the inside.” Instead, he encouraged believers to be a light, and to “let brotherly love continue.”

“When people come to church, they want to feel loved,” he said.

From the archives: Let Brotherly Love Continue. April 2016.

Pastor Guy said his parents grew up in Luther during segregation and never experienced anything like this. Luther was home to one of the nation’s premier Black schools before integration. The school graduated its last class in 1955. Washington School is now a town park to the west of the church building on Elizabeth Threatt Lane. Efforts are underway to improve and care for the peaceful and beautiful park that holds so much of our town’s history.

For now, while Pastor Guy and the congregation deal with cleaning up the damage, they will continue their practice of loving and forgiving others. The parsonage, built in the “giraffe style” in 1951, is like so many original structures around town using native stone and mortar. Too expensive to repair despite their plans, Pastor Guy said the structure will eventually be demolished. The spot will become a parking lot to provide safer access for members who no longer park on the street curb after too many close calls with speeding cars.

Luther Police Captain Les Warren was on duty Sunday morning and investigated the crime. He also stayed until the last church member went home, a gesture that Pastor Guy said was comforting, along with the pledge for additional patrols in the area. Capt. Warren said they have some leads and will refer the case to federal authorities.

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