By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Vandals ransacked a Tulsa church for the third time in one week. The small church has a regular congregation of about 50 people and is still struggling to recover from the May 13 tornado.
Vandals spent hours creating an unholy mess at Aldersgate United Methodist Church near 37th and South Mingo. For church members, the massive amount of damage is both heartbreaking and despicable.
Jo Stall is trying to take the vandalism to her church in stride, but she says it's hard to see a sacred place broken into pieces. She has a prayerful heart, but is still frustrated that they can't even get things cleaned up from the last attack, before a new one happens.
"It's kinda like the minister said the first time, ‘let's pray for them,'" said Jo Stall, Church Council Chair.
Lori Fullbright, The News On 6: "Then, the second time happened and now a third time, is it getting a little hard to pray for these folks?"
Jo Stall: "We hope they get caught, that something says who it was."
Nothing was sacred enough to be spared by the vandals. They even trashed the minister's office. Church members say they broke the typewriter, the computer, office furniture and decorations. They scattered membership and financial files, ripped out air conditioning ducts, set off fire extinguishers and overturned and damaged everything in sight, with no care that the church is a place of worship and giving and healing.
The vandalism was especially pointless and stupid when criminals dumped syrup and all manner of food over everything. Members say they used a hammer and a hatchet to break window, after window, after window. Despite the damage, the expense, the cleanup, there is really only one approach for the people here.
"You just gotta keep trusting the Lord, that's all we can do," said Cindy Slatten, Church Officer Manager.
The church now has a new security system that includes video cameras in hopes of preventing future damage.
If you know who did this, turn them in. You can call the anonymous Crime Stoppers tip line at 596-COPS.
Many viewers have already asked how they can help Aldersgate recover. Anyone wanting to help can make a donation. Checks can be made out to "Aldersgate United Methodist Church." In the memo line, write "vandalism disaster." The church will make sure the money goes to helping replace and repair items damaged or destroyed by the vandals.
You can mail your check to:
Aldersgate United Methodist Church
3702 S. 90th East Ave.
Tulsa, OK 74145