Thursday, July 9, 2009

Church, theaters, and others attacked in Abilene, TX

From Reporternews:

Church, theater, others are hit by vandals

Todd Wilson, pastor for worship and music at First Baptist Church in Abilene, surveys damage to a chapel stained-glass window on Thursday. Police said five or six downtown businesses were vandalized Wednesday night or early Thursday.

Binswanger Glass employee Alex Shipley removes broken glass from the Paramount Theatre box office on Thursday. The vandalism will not affect this weekend’s showing of “Casablanca.”

On any given weekday at the nursery room at First Baptist Church, the space bustles with small hands fingerpainting and chatter from active toddlers.

Thursday, however, the room was dark, the only light coming from holes in window panes, three of about 60 panes shattered overnight at the church.

“It’s a senseless act and a destruction of beauty and God’s house,” said Mike Greenfield, pastor for administration at First Baptist in Abilene. “I’m frustrated that somebody has that little respect for God’s house.”



In the chapel, the safety glass protecting the stained glass was pierced, knocking openings in five of the large stained-glass windows.

But the church was not the only downtown location to take a hit.

About two blocks east, glass glimmered on the sidewalk in front of the Paramount Theatre. Five of the six box-office window panes were broken and another five on one of the theater doors were shattered.

“I felt sort of sick when I saw it,” said Betty Hukill, the venue’s executive director. “It was very disheartening to see the Paramount damaged like this.”

Police said five or six downtown businesses were vandalized Wednesday night or early Thursday.

Greenfield estimated repairing the church panes would cost close to $6,000. However, the chapel stained-glass windows, which have been in the church for 50 years, could cost $5,000 each to replace.

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