RHEA COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - A church congregation in Rhea County is cleaning up a huge mess after vandals broke in to the church and cut a water line.
When members arrived for services Sunday morning at Hilltop Baptist Church in Dayton, they discovered water gushing in to the building. They say this is not the first time their church has been targeted.
"Right now we're in the process of cleaning up," says church member Tony Williams.
"I felt sad and kindly angry," says Haley Morris.
"We'll all pray for them, that did it," says Michael Uren.
"It hurts, you know. People should respect God's property and His stuff," says church member Timothy Uren.
Whoever broke into Hilltop Baptist Church in Dayton, wanted to leave their mark.
Sunday morning, members discovered water flooding out of the men's bathroom.
"They cut it. It actually has the tool marks still on it," says Williams, holding up a broken piece of pipe.
"It soaked up in the sheet rock, the carpet in to the sanctuary. All of that will probably have to be replaced," he says.
Williams says this is not the first time the church has been hit, with vandalism starting after the sanctuary was built six years ago.
"The doors, just right after we put them up, all brand new and white, people rubbed red clay all over them," he says. "We had to come in and clean them. Filled our meter box full of mud, we had to clean it out."
This time around, on top of the water, the vandals broke in this window and tried to pry open another one.
"No one respects the house of God anymore. Nobody respects the Lord's work anymore. There's very few that do," says Williams.
He says the small congregation of about 60 will still stand strong.
"Any time that you're trying to do good, the Bible always teaches that evil's always present," he says.
He will lean on his faith for understanding.
"I guess I did get a little heated at one point. But they don't know who they've messed with. They didn't mess with the church. Whoever's done this, they're messing with the Lord."
He wants the vandals to know the church forgives them. And so does God.
"He may just convict their heart and they get saved and that's good enough," says Williams.
They believe they are being targeted because the vandals did not take anything with them.
The church does have insurance and it has already filed a report with the sheriff's office.
If you have any information on who may have done this, call the Rhea County Sheriff's Office.
Saturday, May 25 2013 11:06 PM EDT2013-05-26 03:06:28 GMT
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