Updated: May 8
Dear people of St Andrew’s,
Someone entered the building sometime around 2 am on Thursday, May 4, 2023. The person or persons targeted sacramental items for desecration, including the altar, the baptismal font, and the processional cross. The font is the most damaged, with the carvings of saints being targeted. The tabernacle was opened and consecrated hosts scattered on the floor. Water used for the font was poured out onto the floor.
The desecration was discovered by Marlone Givens this morning. He called the police and then contacted me. The police are investigating. I notified Bishop Scott Mayer, and he is in close communication with me. He plans to be with us on Sunday.
This attack is shocking to us all. But God’s love abides.
Yes, we are heartbroken. Not just about the damage and desecration to our sacred space, but also saddened that there is such anger and sickness in our community. At the same time, the people of St. Andrew's are not strangers to hard times. This is a church that knows how to lean into each other, support one another, and choose love over everything else.
Bishop Mayer noted that the intruders specifically targeted sacramental items.
“These physical objects such as the font, the consecrated hosts, and the altar are outward and visible signs of God’s presence among us and as such carry within themselves the holy. Matter matters. Things that we can touch, and handle can be sacred. Our very bodies are sacred. It’s related to finding the sacred in the ordinary. It is part of the incarnational nature of our theology,” he said.
“That’s why even as we deal with our own sorrow and understandable anger, we remember the importance of praying for the perpetrators, who also are beloved children of God.”
Senior Warden Bill Aikman said, “Our church was attacked by people who desperately need our prayers. St. Andrew’s is rooted and grounded in the love of Christ and we will not be intimidated by these vandals.”
On Sunday, we will have a liturgy for restoring to sacred use consecrated objects that have been profaned. Each profaned object will be symbolically cleansed by use of signs of purification such as water or incense. Each object will be touched or otherwise indicated and declared “restored to the use for which it has been dedicated and consecrated.”
While this attack was less destructive than the 1996 fire, it is perhaps more shocking in the intentionality of harm and manifestation of hatred. Please be aware that it may trigger hard memories and awaken old griefs. Be gentle with yourselves as we walk together through this tender time, strengthened by the knowledge of God’s love for each of us.
Our staff is available to you for pastoral care. Please contact the St. Andrew’s Church Office at 806-376-6316 and one of our Priests will return your call.