South Georgia church damaged by vandals - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

South Georgia church damaged by vandals

April 4, 2006

Cuthbert-- The spirit of a South Georgia church is a bit shaken but members of Mitchell Grove Baptist Church in Cuthbert say they won't let cruel crooks keep them down. They've got to clean up a huge mess vandals left behind.

The spirit and serenity of church has been replaced with crime tape in the city of Cuthbert. "Today, we're in a major catastrophe," says Jevon Eustey. A catastrophe that leaves broken glass on the ground outside the windows of Mitchell Grove Baptist Church.

"Of all things, a church," says Eustey.

It's a church with history. It was founded in 1880, nearly 126 years ago but this week has changed the church drastically inside and out.

"When I came here, this is what I found," says Eutsey. Church member Jevon Eutsey says what he found on the inside was the biggest shock, light fixtures shattered, once mounted speakers now on the floor and pews overturned.

"They were bolted, literally bolted to the ground," says Eutsey. The lecturn that normally sits on the pulpit was thrown in the aisle. Underneath it, the same bible that's preached from on Sundays.

"Anything that is in God's house can't be torn up completely," says Eutsey. Eutsey can't understand why anyone would take the time to destroy the church.

"Anyone who would do something of this magnitude would have to be more than heartless," says Eutsey. But the members of Mitchell Grove now have to find the heart to begin picking up the pieces, one day at a time.

"We are going to be rebuilding. Of course, that's going to take some time," says Eutsey. They'll use the two remaining working lights to sift through. "It's going to be dark," says Eutsey. And to get through these dark times, they'll rely on their faith.

"We're going to get stronger. What doesn't hurt you is only going to make you stronger," says Eutsey.

A strong spirit still remains at the Baptist church, a spirit they say will be present in a Sunday service soon.

The Randolph County Sheriff's Department and the GBI are investigating. They collected evidence including fingerprints and casts of tire tracks.

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