Vandals defaced a Maspeth church recently in what is being investigated as a hate crime.
Trinity-St. Andrews Lutheran Church on 60th Avenue was found vandalized on Wednesday, February 29 when the church’s pastor, Terrence Weber, arrived at the religious institution.
“As I was coming to the church’s office door I noticed a Star of David and in the star was a swastika,” the pastor said. “People being what they are today I knew exactly what it was.”
Weber circled the church and parish house searching for more signs of defacement. He discovered a Star of David with the words “Christ” and “Thor,” the tag “UG” with a bomb and a “pornographic scene” scrawled on the house of worship.
Police said they are investigating the vandalism as a hate crime.
“We are an aging congregation,” said Weber, who has been with the church for 18 years. “In my own mind there is no kind of vendetta people would have against us.”
Assemblymember Rory Lancman recently announced legislation that would provide greater protection to houses of worship.
The bill would increase the penalty for any damage to a religious institution from one year to a maximum of four years in prison.
Trinity-St. Andrews has been a pillar of the community since 1899.
This is the first time the church has had to deal with this kind of act, Weber said, adding that the church has a very good relationship with the community.
“Parishioners were numb [to the graffiti] because nothing in this day and age is sacred. It is a sign of the times,” Weber said. “It’s always somebody else, but when it comes to your backyard, you say, ‘I can’t believe it’s right here.’”
No arrests have been made. Repeated calls to the 104th Precinct went unanswered as of press time.