Bishop Sally Dyck called for prayers for the congregations which experienced burglaries and vandalism following the Easter holiday this week. Living Faith UMC in Waukegan was broken into and several items stolen late Sunday or early Monday morning and Waukegan San Pablo reported an attempted break-in on Wednesday.
At Lincoln UMC in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, someone painted hateful graffiti on the church’s front doors including a swastika and the words “Rape Mexico.” Lincoln UMC’s Pastor Emma Lozano says the racist markings followed media coverage of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Easter Sunday sermon to the church’s largely Latino congregation and his call to embrace immigrant families facing deportation. Pastor Lozano also commented that the church had received threatening phone calls on recent occasions when Congressman Luis Gutierrez spoke to the congregation.
“Some group was determined to send us a message. Of course, we will in no way be intimidated – but we will inform our community about what is happening and we will remain alert,” said Lozano. She told her congregation at Adalberto, Lincoln’s sister church, “we will fight hate with the Love of Christ.”
In addition to the churches and communities, Bishop Sally Dyck asks us to pray for those responsible for these acts that they may experience healing from the pain and anger that would cause them to do it.
“We especially deplore vandalism that focuses on the nationality/ethnicity of the people in the community and church as happened at Lincoln UMC,” said Bishop Dyck. “As Christians we must all speak out against hateful speech such as this graffiti. It’s a violation of the sacredness of the people in the church and community.”
Police are investigating the incidents.