Hate symbols painted on sides of Mayflower church

    8:47 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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    • Vandals spray paint swastikas and other graffiti on Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church in North Little Rock. (Photo: Matt Buhrman/THV 11 News)
    • Vandals spray paint swastikas and other graffiti on Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church in North Little Rock. (Photo: Matt Buhrman/THV 11 News)

    MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) - Symbols of hatred were spray-painted on the outside of a Central Arkansas church.

    On Monday night, Sheriff's Deputies were called about criminal mischief taking place at Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church located on Highway 365.

    The church had been closed for a year-and-a-half after a tornado destroyed it in April 2011. In October of 2012, the congregation rededicated the building with great celebration, but now there is a storm of a different kind.

    Nazi swastikas and initials for the Ku Klux Klan were among the symbols spray-painted on the back wall of Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church.

    Pastor James Hayes expressed sadness, yet determination in finding the culprits.

    "It was devastating to look at. Definitely devastating...Hatred has no place in the hearts of saints. So hold your head up. We're where we are. We're going to move forward," Pastor Hayes said. "This is not going to stop the worship. I do believe we're going to use this to make it better."

    On Monday evening, Pastor Hayes drove up to the church with his 4-year-old son. He found the symbols on the windows, doors, siding, and the storage shed in the rear of the church.

    Church member Ulis Stubbs came by on Tuesday to see the damage.

    "It's probably just a hate crime. That's all I can think of. It's sad, man. It's rough. We just got in the place and now they're already trying to destroy it. The devil, he works. But we're going to work it all out, staying strong," Stubbs said.

    Lieutenant Carl Minden with the Pulaski County Sheriff's Office called the crime "disturbing" and added that it took place in a rural area where word of a suspect may get out.

    "People do tend to know each other. So if it was in the community we would hope that somebody would come forward and give us information. Or if you did it, turn yourself in," said Lt. Minden.

    "Hatred is still in this world. And perhaps it will remain until the world comes to an end. But through it all, we're still determined to praise God," Pastor Hayes said.

    A business just across the street has a surveillance camera pointed in the direction of the church. The owner told THV 11 that he is reviewing that tape.

    Pastor Hayes estimated repairs for the building could cost between $6,500 to $8,000. He said not even motion lights could deter these vandals.

    If anyone has any information regarding the racial graffiti sprayed on Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church, they are urged to contact police. Anyone who calls can remain anonymous.

    Twitter: @BuhrmanM

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