Members of the Bethel Seventh Day Adventist Church in Kansas City, Kan., got a sickening surprise Sunday when they discovered vandals had trashed the place.
Pews were upturned, wheelchairs were tossed about, hymnals were strewn and even a keyboard was destroyed.
The congregation, which normally worships at the church at 6910 Riverview St. on Saturdays, had an annual gathering with other congregations at another location this weekend. The destruction was discovered Sunday.
“It was much worse than I had imagined,” said Pastor Bryan Mann, who had been to the church Saturday afternoon to retrieve his ministerial robe.
“When I was there everything was fine,” Mann said. “There were no issues.”
Three toilets were broken and water was running across the floor. A cleanup and restoration crew worked into the evening on Sunday, with blowers drying the building.
A piece of plywood covered a glass door panel that had been busted out to gain entry. The church has an alarm system but apparently the vandals did not trigger it by opening the door. Police were called to the church Sunday.
Mann said the damage at a minimum amounts to $75,000 and is probably much more. It was unclear Sunday when the congregation would be able to worship in the building again. The church is insured.
The church’s weekly food giveaway 4-6 p.m. Tuesday will be staged from the gymnasium at the church headquarters, 3321 Garfield Ave., Kansas City, Kan.
The church is in a relatively secluded area and ongoing road work requires a detour, further isolating the building.