Last week the First Presbyterian Church of Ogdensburg, New York dedicated a rainbow-painted bench made by parishioner Don Kerr and painted by his sister Donna. Just eight days later, the bench was torched in the middle of the night.
First Presbyterian is a fully inclusive congregation, according to Reverend Laurena M. Wickham Hill. “We believe that God’s love is for everyone,” she told the Watertown Daily Times. But someone didn’t agree, torching the bench at three o’clock in the morning barely a week after it was installed near the church’s front entrance. Police are now looking for suspects.
Ogdensburg is a small port city located on the St. Lawrence river in western New York, about two hours north of Syracuse. Located on the city’s historic downtown, First Presbyterian doesn’t have its own security cameras, although police are investigating footage from cameras at a nearby diner and Planned Parenthood. In the meantime, one community member has offered to pay for the materials to rebuild the bench.
“We are going to rebuild it,” says Reverend Hill. “This really is a loving church. The people who belong are very good. At least 20 people have already stopped by today to offer their support after what happened.”
(featured image via Facebook)