Culpeper United Methodist Church was the target of anti-Christian vandalism early Tuesday.
Culpeper Police Department Officer Dave Payne responded to the report of graffiti along the 1200 block of Oaklawn Drive at 6:21 Tuesday morning, and what he saw was shocking.
Covering the front doors of CUMC was the phrase “God is Dead,” and the symbol of 666. Several cars along Oaklawn Drive were also marked with 666 and other obscene symbols were spray painted on church property.
CUMC pastor Randy Orndorff said he just started preaching a new lesson on Sunday about Jesus telling you to forgive your enemies.
“He talked about loving your enemies and praying for those that persecute you,” Orndorff said. “I told everybody when they were leaving, to look for places where someone doesn’t treat you with respect or they say something to hurt you. Then think about how you will respond to that. I just didn’t know that it was going to end up on the front doors of our church this morning.”
According to CPD detective Austin McNabb, sometime in the overnight hours vandals painted those symbols and phrases along Oaklawn Drive.
“The way our folks are responding is that we have to pray for those that did this,” Orndorff said. “It doesn’t mean you just roll over and take it, but we’re going to look for a positive twist on it.”
CUMC was hosting its annual Vacation Bible School Tuesday morning, with more than 200 children expected to arrive by 9 a.m. In preparation, teenage volunteers and church members worked to cover the graffiti with posters.
Orndorff was shaken, but not deterred in his faith as several youngsters responded by taking lessons they learned in church and applying it in this situation.
“One of the things I heard from our parents was that their three little girls in response started to sing a song we sing in church,” Orndorff said. “That our God is not dead, he’s surely alive, he’s living on the inside, roaring like a lion. That was their take away, when I heard that I thought that’s how we have to approach this.”
Culpeper United Methodist Church was also the home Tuesday morning of the West Fairfax polling station for the June 13 primary.
Anyone with information pertaining to the vandalism can contact McNabb at 727-3430.
“It’s just amazing that it happens to more small, rural communities like Culpeper,” Orndorff said. “We’re sure not immune to those types of attacks and the evil behind it. We pray for those and that God will touch their heart and help them see there is grace for all.”