A local congregation came together Sunday for the first time since their church was vandalized — all thanks to the outpouring of love and support from the community.
WAAY 31 attended the morning service at St. John's Missionary Baptist Church and learned how members are hoping to move forward. There was a time when they didn't know when they'd be able to come back and worship again, and many were grateful it could happen so soon.
“It feels real good, because I don’t like sitting at home on a Sunday and not worshipping the Lord," said Rose Burton, longtime Sunday school teacher for the church.
Crews spend days fixing the damages, but many are still feeling the damage in their hearts.
“A lot of people want to see punishment," said Curtis Burton Sr., a deacon at the church.
He said it's been especially difficult to accept what happened since all four suspects are under the age of 15. They're accused of throwing paint, breaking glass and more in the church.
"We don’t know what’s going on in their homes, and they might just need somebody to talk to them," he said.
Curtis Burton met with the 11- and 13-year-old girls accused of the vandalism.
"They were so small and innocent, and I was just — it almost brought me to tears," he said.
He said God's work has shown him that forgiveness is the only way to move forward, so he's ready to do that. He's even offering for the children to come to church with them.
“(God) knows what to do and when to do it," Rose Burton said. "All we’ve got to do is rely upon him and trust him, and we’ll be alright.”
On Saturday, there will be a community clean-up day for the church. To donate to the church, click here.