MAHONING TOWNSHIP — Police are still searching for vandals who have repeatedly targeted a church’s billboard in Carbon County.
An image of Jesus has been covered with spray paint eight or nine times in the last year and a half and now, someone took a hammer or crowbar to the sign, as well.
It’s a billboard meant to invite people to Sunday worship at Ebenezer Evangelical Congregations Church in Jim Thorpe, but it has become a target for vandals.
Over and over again, someone has been spray-painting the image of Jesus along Route 209 between Lehighton and Jim Thorpe. Eight or nine times in a year and a half, Pastor Nathan Kennedy has had to clean it up.
“Every time when I find out, I go out and try to clean up the sign right away so it doesn’t get too much exposure,” the pastor said.
The latest strike by vandals about two weeks ago went beyond spray paint. If you look closely you can see marks left by a hammer or crowbar all over the picture of Jesus’s face so the church went to police.
“It’s been pretty frustrating, but I think God has brought a lot of good out of what’s happened. The community has really noticed what’s going on and so we’re thankful that the community has been behind us.”
The billboard isn’t very high up so it wouldn’t be too hard for someone to reach up and spray-paint it. But it would be hard to go unnoticed right along a busy stretch of Route 209.
“Everyone should just leave everyone alone. That’s ridiculous that you would take someone’s sacred symbol and vandalize it like that. It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Those who drive by the billboard all the time can’t believe it’s a target.
“People shouldn’t be doing things like that, defacing property, stuff that doesn’t belong to them.”
But even though this keeps happening, the church isn’t dwelling on the negative.
“We think as a church you can’t silence Jesus’s message. You can spray paint over his mouth and his eyes but you can’t silence his message,” Pastor Kennedy added.
If you know who did it or see anyone at the sign call Mahoning Township police at 570-386-2241.