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Vandalism Fails to Deter Baptist Church Services : Crime: Doors of the Fullerton facility were defaced with swastikas and satanic symbols. Police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

It was worship as usual Sunday morning at a small Baptist church whose doors remained defaced with swastikas and satanic symbols.

As dark clouds threatened rain, Sunday school teachers and children in fancy clothes scurried past brown doors spray-painted white with the words Satan and Jewish and numerical symbols left two days earlier by vandals.

Church workers had time to repaint only five of the nine vandalized doors, and graffiti remain in a bathroom, said the Rev. William C. Bryant, who has led the 100-member Brookhurst Baptist Church for a year. Few members commented on the vandalism, and no pulpit speakers would address the topic, he said.

Bryant’s congregation, composed mostly of elderly Anglos, shares the facilities with the Fullerton Korean Baptist Church, a 130-member congregation with many children. The vandalism was the first he had seen in four years, said the Rev. Song Kim, pastor of the Korean church.

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“At first I was shocked,” he said. But he said he does not believe that the vandals were targeting his congregation since they left untouched his office and Korean lettering on the church sign. “Maybe it is anti-Christian,” he said.

Terry Longworth, a church member from La Mirada, guessed that the vandals might be “kids fooling around. We just don’t know. . . .”

“It’s a shame,” he said, noting that church members had recently repainted and landscaped the church grounds. “People have no respect.”

Fullerton police are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, a type of vandalism that has been rising lately in Orange County.

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Bryant said he was mostly surprised at the attack. “The reason we exist is to create a special atmosphere of love and well-being . . . certainly not to create a problem for our Jewish friends or whoever.

“It seems to me it is the work of strangers passing through.”


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