Vandals again target Maple Grove church that supports same-sex marriage

  • Updated: July 2, 2013 - 9:01 PM

For the third time in a month, vandals have targeted a Maple Grove church for its support of same-sex marriage.

Pilgrims United Church of Christ found eggs splattered on the church last Sunday, handcuffs on the handles of the front door and graffiti on the siding. Church member Karen Udstrand said the “hate language” condemned the church for supporting same-sex marriage such as, “pride no way,” in reference to Twin Cities Pride last weekend.

“I’m concerned because it seems to be escalating,” Udstrand said about the three incidents that appear to be done by the same person, because the graffiti handwriting is the same and in what appears to be pencil. “Someone’s not very happy with us.”

Maple Grove Patrol Capt. Keith Terlinden said police are investigating three “bias-motivated” crimes at the church since June 2. A fourth incident happened in May when vandals egged the church, which Udstrand said they didn’t report, thinking it was isolated.

While other Minnesota churches have had vandals strike in support of or opposition to same-sex marriage, it’s the only one in Maple Grove that’s been targeted.

“I can’t think of any other similar cases,” Terlinden said.

The small “open and affirming” Protestant church has 40 members and can’t afford security cameras or a custodian, so church members have cleaned up vandalism, Udstrand said.

“We’re just a small church that’s minding our own business,” she said. “It’s really sad someone does something as un-Christian as this.”

No arrests have been made. Anyone with information should contact Maple Grove police at 763-494-6100 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

KELLY SMITH

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