Church congregations and religious leaders gathered in a show of unity in suburban Wheaton on Thursday after vandals damaged several signs in support of Black Lives Matter and Jacob Blake.
Hope Presbyterian Church and Bethel New Life Church held a vigil on the grounds of their shared facility, where earlier in the week, someone knocked over a Black Lives Matter sign, damaged a Jacob Blake sign and set fire to a church sign that includes a symbol in support of the LGBTQ community.
“I think many of us were completely blown away by the ugliness of it and the despair, but quickly understood that this is what happens when you begin to speak the truth,” said Anna Lloyd of Hope Presbyterian Church.
Thursday’s gathering included songs and messages of harmony from the speakers.
“The vigil will make people more aware of what’s going on,” said Keith Carter, a deacon at Bethel New Life Church.
According to the Wheaton Police Department, a dog walker observed the damaged signs and still-smoldering church sign at around 6 a.m. Monday and called police.
“The Wheaton Police Department is investigating these incidents and we will do our utmost to uncover the motives of the offenders,” said a spokesperson for the Wheaton Police Department. “Damage to the property of a religious institution is a serious felony crime and will not be tolerated.”