Two churches in Belville less than half a mile apart were the target of vandalism sometime between 5:30 p.m. Saturday night and 8 a.m. Sunday morning, according to Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Glass windows and doors were shattered at both Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church and Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
Neither church had any damage inside the building, and nothing was taken from inside, according to trustees interviewed at both churches who were first to arrive on site.
“Detectives believe that these incidents were done by the same person given the proximity of the two churches,” according to Brunswick Co. Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives do not believe anyone entered the buildings, and they did not say if anybody had been charged or arrested in connection with this incident.
Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church
The damage at Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church included smashed glass on both front doors, two front windows, and a side window.
“I arrived here this morning at about nine o’clock, and I found that we had been vandalized,” said Rickie Henderson, a trustee at Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church.
Law enforcement with Brunswick County Sheriff’s office arrived shortly afterward, according to Henderson.
“I’m just really upset, that in this day and time, people would do such a thing to a church,” said Henderson. “Shocked, disappointment.”
“We searched and nothing was taken. It doesn’t look like anybody went inside. Just glass splattered. No rocks, no stones, it looks to me as if they used a bat,” said Henderson. “I have no idea who would want to vandalize a church.”
Blackwell Chapel AME Zion Church has 15 regular members that hold service every Sunday.
Providence Missionary Baptist Church
The two front windows were smashed at Providence Missionary Baptist Church.
William Yeoman, trustee at Providence Missionary Baptist Church, first spotted the smashed windows at about 8:45 a.m.
“I went to the bathroom to care of some duties, and I looked down on the floor and there I saw some glass down there,” said Yeoman. “I found out that somebody probably took a bat or maybe a screwdriver or something and punched a hole in the window, because the glass spread all over the floor, all over the sink.”
A sheriff's deputy arrived on scene to investigate. The trustee was told law enforcement would patrol the area more often after this incident.
“I don’t know why they lash out at churches. God loves him as much as he loves us," said Yeoman.
Providence Missionary Baptist Church has about 40 members.
“Forgiveness. We have to forgive him,” said Yeoman. “Whoever is doing this, we pray for them. We invite them to come, and let’s talk.”
Windows were broken at the church before about a year ago, according to Yeoman.
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