McHenry County church turns back to ministry in wake of recent vandalism

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Wednesday, October 5, 2022
McHenry County church turns back to ministry in wake of recent vandalism
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Nativity Lutheran Church in McHenry County Illinois is returning to normal following a vandalism incident earlier this week.

WONDER LAKE, Ill. (WLS) -- Nativity Lutheran Church in Wonder Lake in McHenry County is a ray of light in the darkness.

Words and symbols of racial hate were discovered on the building just days ago, but leaders of the vandalized church said the action will not stop them from their mission.

Church leaders are working with police but also continuing with a food pantry to help those in need.

Pastor Susie Hill said nothing is going to stop her from sharing her message of love and joy.

"Today our food pantry is open. We are doing ministry today. We are gonna do ministry tomorrow, we're gonna do it the next day," Hill said.

Reverend Hill is turning the pain of a small congregation victimized by hate speech, into purpose.

"We're going to repaint and we're gonna move on. That's what this church does," said Kim Halper of Wonder Lake Neighbors Food Pantry. "We're the little church that could. We've had hard times before. We've preserved."

Halper heads the church's food bank, serving 400-600 families per month. She's just one of the congregants shocked at the messages written outside of this place of peace.

"It's just very sad and disheartening," Halper said. "We all feel, as a congregation, that we've been victimized and we just don't understand."

"When I drove up and I saw the side of the building I just felt my heart break," Rev. Hill added.

Discovered Tuesday morning, Hill and Halper said the vandal or vandals covered themselves well. Defacing the church with racial slurs, swastikas and other hateful images in an area surrounded by trees, even spray painting the church floodlights, with no cameras in sight.

"It just seems like a random hate crime," Rev. Hill said.

The church contacted police but said there's little evidence to follow, which is why they're focused on ministry.

"We like to say we feed people upstairs spiritually and down here physically and so we're going to continue to do our mission," Halper said.

Food pantry supplies are running low. If you'd like to donate, the faith team asks that you do. They said, they believe, that good will persevere.