WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It was an unpleasant surprise for two pastors at a Wilmington church Thursday. The Bridge Church was vandalized with racial slurs and profanity, making that one of several places that has been vandalized just this week.
Earlier this week, it was the Cape Fear Rugby Club’s field that was vandalized. Now, a place of worship.
The pastors at The Bridge Church have a strong feeling this was a targeted attack. Hate-filled writing and racial slurs were smeared across the church.
“For us, it kind of feels like there’s a target on us, and like they went after us because of the vision of our church,” Ethan Welch said.
Pastor Welch said The Bridge Church is known for its cultural acceptance.
The cruel writing was sadly not a surprise to everyone.
“My very first thought was, I’m numb to this. I’ve seen it before,” Sean Bynum said.
Pastor Bynum said he was not even shocked when someone sent him the photos.
Welch calls this devastating.
“It was shocking, and for most of us who are white, we haven’t experienced something like this before,” Welch said.
On Thursday, Welch got a call from his staff. He came in to find his church vandalized.
Racial slurs and profanity were spray painted all over the back of the church.
“It really breaks my heart for our staff and our other pastors and leaders who are African American or other ethnicities to see profanities and racial slurs written against them on our church building,” Welch said. “It’s just really devastating to see that.”
The church is one of several recent targets. The Cape Fear Rugby Club’s field was covered in swastikas, and a home on 11th St. was painted with homophobic slurs.
Welch and Bynum think this was a motivated attack, and they have a message for those responsible.
“We pray that justice comes, but we also welcome the individual or individuals that committed this crime,” said Bynum.
There is no word on who did this, or if the several incidents are connected. Wilmington Police are still investigating.