This strikes close to home. The incidents all occurred over the weekend, not far from where my wife and I lived when we were first married.

From The Washington Post

Three churches in Bethesda were vandalized, and two of them were also set on fire over the weekend in incidents that authorities think are connected.

On Saturday at 1:30 a.m., the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to a call about a fire at North Bethesda United Methodist Church, at 10100 Old Georgetown Rd. The main part of the church was not affected, and damage was minimal, said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for the agency.

When an investigator was leaving the site, he came across debris, a couple of damaged headstones and some other wood material on the road that investigators think came from the nearby Wildwood Baptist Church, at 10200 Old Georgetown Rd., Piringer said.

He said the church was not set on fire but that the material found appeared to have been the result of vandalism.

About 24 hours later, at approximately 2 a.m. Sunday, the fire and rescue service responded to a call about a fire at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Parish, at 9601 Old Georgetown Rd. — less than a mile from North Bethesda United Methodist Church. That fire damaged several pews but was quickly extinguished, Piringer said, adding that investigators think the fire was set intentionally.

The damage was enough to suspend activities in the main section of the church, and Sunday Mass was moved to another part of the church, Piringer said.

Officials at the three churches did not immediately respond to calls or emails seeking comment.

From CNA: 

Father Samuel Giese, the pastor, spoke about the attack at the start of the parish’s live-streamed 10 a.m. Sunday Mass.

“Last night our church was vandalized. People broke in. They overturned statues. They tore down the Stations of the Cross. They desecrated the tabernacle, and they tried to set the church on fire,” he said.

“I believe that this is because of the Church’s stand on the issue of life — when it begins and that it should be protected — and that this is one of the manifestations of the deep divisions right now within our country, that there are those who believe that we do not have even the right to practice our faith.”

Giese went on to say that the church is more than a building.

“I’m sorry to share this news with you. However, this is the important thing to remember,” he said. “We are the Church. We are the living stones. We are the Body of Christ. We are the ones who have been nourished by God, consecrated by God.

St. Jane’s posted a video showing part of the blaze and the remarks by the pastor.

2022-07-11T09:41:21-04:00July 10th, 2022|Churches|Comments Off on Vandalism, suspected arson at Maryland churches

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