Extensive vandalism devastates South Side church

May 19, 2013 (CHICAGO)

The minister and members of the "International Harbor of Grace" on the Far Southeast Side say they have never experienced such violence in their church.

The youth chapel and community house located at 9748 S Avenue L was broken into and torn apart sometime last week.

The vandalism was extensive. Pews bolted to the ground were pulled apart and thrown across the room and copper piping and wires were ripped from the walls.

Gang symbols and graffiti were everywhere. Glass, bottles, and even drug paraphernalia was left behind.

"Nothing unturned, everything from the bleachers, to the baptismal pool, everything the kids room. Everything written on walls, everything. It was devastating," church member Georgina Whitehead said.

"I was shocked, hurt, and angry and saddened because people have no fear of the Lord they were so angry," the church's pastor David Carrillo said.

The building has been located in the 9700-block of S Avenue L for almost a 100 years. The pastor and 40 members, has been using the space for 14 years and even though there are violent gangs in the neighborhood, they have never had a problem here.

"I thought there was some respect among gangs that they would not touch a church. It was respect for God, obviously it wasn't there," Carrillo said.

Ironically, the church reaches out to many people with a troubled past and even has some former gang members who belong.

Carrillo says the people behind this mess would have been welcomed and they are praying for them.

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