Fund-raising goal is met after vandalism

$10,000 raised to help Lothian church rebuild

September 19, 2001|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

United Black Clergy of Anne Arundel County Inc. has met its goal of raising $10,000 to help refurbish Rapture Church in Lothian, which was desecrated with racial slurs and had its food pantry and equipment looted last month.

At a "restoration rally" scheduled for Saturday in Glen Burnie, United Black Clergy officials will present the donated money to church leaders to help pay expenses not covered by insurance. Church officials estimated the vandals did more than $20,000 worth of damage.

"We are stronger than any attack that can come against a church," said Bishop Larry Lee Thomas, president of United Black Clergy, which represents about 75 African-American churches. "As fast as anyone can try to tear it down, we are quick to build it back up."

Members of the organization launched the campaign Aug. 15, five days after the church was vandalized.

Rapture Church, with 75 parishioners, is home to one of the county's oldest and largest food pantries.

"This attack has brought our church and community closer together," said the Rev. Craig Coates, senior pastor.

No arrests have been made in the Aug. 10 vandalism, but county police said yesterday they are looking for a full-size, tan automobile with "995" as the last digits of the license plate number. Witnesses reported seeing the vehicle near the church before the incident.

The vandals soaked floors and walls with chocolate syrup, barbecue sauce and orange juice taken from the pantry. A computer, fax machine and copier were covered with syrup. A toilet was clogged with a pork roast.

Two pentagrams - a symbol associated with satanic practices - were drawn in syrup. Bibles were ripped apart, freezers were destroyed and sound equipment and musical instruments were stolen.

The Rapture Church rally is scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday at St. James Church of the Apostolic Faith, 7566 E. Howard Road, Glen Burnie 21060. Donations can be mailed to the same address, payable to United Black Clergy.

Anne Arundel County police, who are offering a $1,000 reward in the case, are asking anyone with information about the crime to call 410-222-1960.

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