When a vandal decided to shatter almost all of the windows at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, on Christmas Eve, the church community rallied, cleaned up the mess — and pressed forward with services.
“Have a Merry Christmas because this is not going to stop us,” Pastor Eric Borchers said in a Facebook video after the shocking discovery.
The preacher, who also offered forgiveness, said the church hasn’t seen anything like this in its 20-year history.
Security cameras show a suspect emerging around 6 a.m. and using what appeared to be a metal pole with signage attached to bash in the windows.
Borchers said he assumes the man wasn’t in his right mind at the time. Footage appears to show the vandal whistling as he left the scene, KTBC-TV reported.
The pastor admitted it was a “little frustrating” to see the damage at first, but that church members had to quickly move on and take action to ensure worship services could go on without delay.
Borchers took to social media to call on the community — both church members and anyone else willing — to come and help.
“The church has been vandalized on Christmas Eve. That really kind of stinks,” he said in a Facebook video, before going on to mention that the church still planned to meet for Christmas Eve services. “By the grace of God, it definitely ties in with a world that is in chaos for the message tonight here.”
People instantly jumped into gear and appeared on scene to sweep up the glass and board up every smashed window.
The community finished in time to host a Christmas Eve service. The church then held another Saturday morning service for Christmas Day, KXAN-TV reported.
Borchers said he forgives the man responsible and expressed kindness regarding his wellbeing.
“It is what it is, and I hope he is okay,” he said. “And I hope he is safe.”
The church expects the extensive damage to amount to between $100,000 and $300,000.
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