A Columbia church vandalized twice in two weeks

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Bell Memorial Baptist Church wants answers after its property was vandalized twice in the past two weeks.

Johnnie Mae Rich-Butler is Pastor Leeroy Butler’s wife, she says there have been no services on the property for almost two years since the start of the pandemic but routine checks are made weekly. According to Johnnie Mae, two weeks ago the church had its first break-in that left behind busted windows, broken dishes and vases in the fellowship hall.

Johnnie Mae says the unthinkable happened last week, another break-in. This time there was more damage in the sanctuary resulting in more broken glass and the communion table destroyed. She says police believe bebe guns were also used.  “Why would you want to do this to God’s house. You know this is sacred ground, this is God’s house and my husband has a favorite hymn ‘On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand’ and he’s a firm believer that we are standing on Christ solid rock.”

Johnnie Mae says nothing was stolen from the property. The church was already working on a plan to return to in-person service but now it looks like the journey may be longer as they work to pick up the pieces.  First is beefing up security including adding cameras. 

“We’ve had some people to already reach out to us to help and make sure we get those type of things accomplished here, especially with the cameras. Who is to say they won’t come back again. That’s the fear that we have now, will they come back again?,” said Johnnie Mae. Johnnie Mae says regardless Bell Memorial Baptist is a praying church and they know that god can change things for the better.

Columbia Police Department says they are investigating the break-ins.

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