Saint Andre Bessette Church in Portland was ravaged by rioters this week amidst election delays. The church is said to regularly provide meals and other supplies for the homeless in the area, and were forced to shut down services because of the violence and destruction.
According to KOIN news in Portland, staff at the church had to “suspend worship services and their outreach programs for the homeless” after someone smashed multiple windows during rioting earlier this week.
Surveillance footage shows rioters wearing black clothing descend on the church and begin attacking it:
Surveillance video shows a crowd of protesters, all wearing black, march past Saint Andre Bessette Church on West Burnside Street when one person rushes up to a door and repeatedly hits the glass with what appears to be a hammer. A homeless person sleeping on the doorstep hurries away as the glass shatters.
Father Tom Gaughan spoke with local reporters about how they had to stop helping the homeless because of the violence:
Father Tom Gaughan said Thursday that the church had been able to continue its outreach services to the homeless throughout the summer by putting modifications in place that align with COVID-19 restrictions. They handed out brown bag lunches and drinks, hygiene kits and grocery bags. But the acts of vandalism during Wednesday night’s demonstrations have changed things.
“The building is compromised because of this so unfortunately the actions of this one individual has forced us to cease our outreach and its hundreds of people we normally give food to, we are not able to because I don’t feel like my staff is safe,” Gaughan said.
Security cameras caught some of the perpetrators in the act.
Here’s the actual surveillance footage of at least one of the attacks below:
Gaughan asked for prayers as his congregation moves to online services due to the ongoing safety concerns.
“I am still waiting to hear from the general contractor about what we can do to try to support the place but I am not comfortable having people in the building with all the violence happening outside,” he said.
“We ask for everyones prayers for peace in our streets which is so long overdue and pray for our sisters and brothers who call the streets and shelters home,” said Gaughan. “Because the act of one person has prevented us from providing for hundreds of people over the course of a week.”