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Deputies: Vandals Threw Bibles on Ground, Broke Pews and Crosses

By Heather Mathis
By hmathis@wbbjtv.com

HENRY COUNTY, Tenn. -- Church members at Bethesda United Methodist say they are asking for God's help to forgive vandals who turned their place of worship upside down this week.

"All the pews were lying flat down, and there were several on top of each other," Paul Wall said, one of the first members to discover the damage Wednesday night.

Henry County deputies say a cross was broken and thrown on the floor, along with several Bibles. The vandals even threw a table through a window.

Pastor of the church, Harold Stricker, tells WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News money was taken from their world hunger offering jar.

"Maybe 50 or 60 dollars was in there," Stricker said. "They didn't steal from the church; they stole from the poor for that."

Sheriff Monte Belew and inmates helped clean up the mess Thursday and Friday. Investigators say they have no leads on the crime.

"It's rude; it's unbelievable and there's no good reason for doing this right here," Belew said.

Church will resume as scheduled Sunday according to Pastor Stricker.

"We're disappointed, but I don't want us to be angry or seeking vengeance in any way," Stricker said. In fact, the pastor has a much different message to those responsible:"We just want to invite them to know the lord."

The Henry County Sheriff's Office is offering a $500 reward for any information in this case.