UPDATE (JAN 26, 2021 6:53 p.m.):
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On Tuesday, less than a week after the vandalism, Reverend Zac Morton, pastor of First Presbyterian was in good spirits.
Morton said the doors were to be repaired later in the day and that the Morgantown Police Department had been very helpful. But he admitted there were some raw emotions initially.
“We were really surprised and I mean saddened is the best description,” Morton said. “Certainly, when I first found out it happened, a bit angry too. You always get angry that somebody would do something like that, especially a church, a place our folks consider to be a really special place. And so for someone to deface that, to vandalize that is really a shocking thing.”
However, as a man of faith, Morton said he looked at the bigger picture. He said his congregation believes in scripture that says God will use bad things that happen for good and use his believers to turn that bad into good.
That is precisely what First Presbyterian did. The pastor said the church is fairly certain the individual who committed the vandalism was someone who it has served in the past. This individual, he said, has a history of substance abuse and mental health issues.
With that in mind, Morton and his congregation wanted to help instead of pointing fingers.
“We put together a GoFundMe fundraiser for one of our local organizations that does peer recovery and mental health and harm reduction, that’s Health Right,” Morton said. “It’s actually a GoFundMe that we set up on our church Facebook page. We are encouraging folks, instead of trying to fix and repair our door — people reached out and were interested in doing that — we’re encouraging them to make a donation to Health Right to support those programs in our community.”
Morton said the church is a community-based group and it has no regrets about being in the downtown area. Certainly, he said, this incident was something “you wish didn’t happen”, but it has turned into an opportunity for good.
“We’ve used our relationships here to help identify and take steps forward and just the outpouring from the community has been wonderful,” he said. “We have reasons to be grateful, in terms of how people have responded to support us and we hope that we can support the community around us as well. We’re grateful, in a way.”
ORIGINAL (JAN 25, 2020 2:02 p.m.):
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A church in Morgantown was vandalized over the weekend when its doors were smashed with bricks.
First Presbyterian Church, located on Spruce Street in Morgantown, was vandalized on Friday evening between 6 – 11.pm., according to a post on the church’s Facebook page. The post stated that two of the church’s entry doors were smashed with bricks.
“We are grateful for the quick response of our downtown beat police – and to Andrew Crudup, John Garlow & Sharon Portaro who helped respond and clean up the mess,” officials with the church said in the post.
Additionally, officials with the church stated that they will be working with the Morgantown Police Department to follow any leads. The post stated that the church does have video cameras which captured the incident. Any person who observed any suspicious activity at the church on Friday is being asked to contact the Morgantown Police Department.