‘Faith over Fear,’ Louisiana church comes together to clean up the work of vandals

Faith Matters

Pastor Anglim: "It's what we get to do, not what we have to do.'

First Grace United Methodist Church NOLA – Shawn Moses Anglim

NEW ORLEANS, La. (BRPROUD) – Vandals hit a church on Canal St. in New Orleans.

A sign at First Grace United Methodist Church had two messages on it when the vandals struck, “Be encouraged by encouraging others” and “Love Thy Neighbor, Get Vaccinated, Sunday, 11:10 A.M.”

The vandals painted over “vaccinated” and added a passage from Revelation to the sign.

The words, “Faith over Fear” were painted on the ground.

But, rather than respond in anger or vindictiveness, the Rev. Shawn Moses Anglim, pastor of First Grace UMC, chose to follow the gospel:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,[a] let him have your cloak as well.  And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles…” Matthew 5: 38-41 

Anglim posted this message on the church’s Facebook page:

“There is a lot of anger out there…we need to be praying for each other…
Make today a day of prayer for those who experience and see the world differently from you…ask that God will help you empathize with them, and to turn the other cheek and keep walking in truth and faith and kindness… God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.”

It did not take long for cleanup to begin at the church.

Volunteers gathered at noon to get the job done, and Anglim documented their progress in these pictures below:

Anglim heaped praise on congregation members who came out with buckets and rags to make the sign and entryway look like new help with the cleanup, which paid off – everything looks good as new after a hard day’s work.

Police are investigating but no one will be charged as the church seeks more restorative justice and conversation, Anglim said.

Anglim believes it is best “to respond with truth, compassion and kindness in an angry, frustrating, dangerous time in our community.

“It is such an opportunity to be the church,” Anglim said. “To respond with truth, compassion and kindness in an angry, frustrating, dangerous time in our community…It’s what we get to do, not what we have to do.”

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