In 2012, the daughter of a member of the Cottage Avenue Pentecostal Fellowship in Indianapolis donated a statue of Jesus to the church.
The statue stands near the door. CNN reports that, five years ago:
“The first time we put it up, they knocked it over,” Pastor Brad Flaskamp told CNN. The statue was put back in place and the church thought no more of it for years, he said.
Fox 59 in Indianapolis reported on February 20 that two weeks before, someone decapitated the statue and left the head lying nearby. Church members were able to repair the statue. However, on Sunday, February 19, someone broke the head off once again and made off with it:
“I can tell you that I don’t think it’s kids,” said Pastor Flaskamp. “It would have to be a kid that can wield a sledge hammer.”
Flaskamp and members of the 100-year-old church are mystified:
There’s no way to tell if it’s the work of somebody seeking a thrill, or somebody trying to send the church a message, or something else.
“I kind of think it’s someone new in the neighborhood that’s got some really deep problems,” said the church’s secretary, Sue Myers.
Her grandson Tony, who is also a member of the church, is equally puzzled.
“I think it’s somebody that just has fun destroying other people’s things, honestly,” Tony Myers said.
Despite the vandalism, Flaskamp is able to view the situation in a classically Christian way:
“Someone needs Jesus, that’s for sure,” he said. “And not just his head, that’s the truth.”
church members say they just want the head returned. Pastor Flaskamp says if the suspect brings the head back and confesses to the crime, the pastor won’t even call police on the person.
“I’d say we love you, we’d love to have the statue head back and we’d love to have you in our church,” Flaskamp said. “We’d welcome them, we’d forgive them. That’s what it’s all about.”
Just so. That’s the right response, although it’s hard to say whether welcoming that person in to church might not cause further problems.
Fox 59’s report states that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police opened an investigation when the head was first decapitated a fortnight ago. Unfortunately, they have no leads and would have to send detectives into the neighbourhood to gather intelligence. Police had hoped a nearby neighbour with a security system might have caught something on video. Alas, the homeowner said the system was installed after the vandalism. That said, he has the camera set up to capture the church.
It is interesting to see that this story got from Indianapolis local news to CNN. The Houston Chronicle also had a report on it.
I hope the congregation finds that the culprit returns the head of Jesus intact. May that person find the urge to repent and may he or she come to believe deeply in our only Mediator and Advocate.