MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP -- A church in Monroe County was hit by vandals who left obscene messages on the house of worship just before services Sunday morning.
The graffiti spray painted on the side of the church near East Stroudsburg showed sexually explicit, political, and anti-Semitic symbols.
Church members and people throughout the community spent most of the morning trying to remove that offensive mess.
Sunday is a day for fellowship and worship at Wooddale United Methodist Church. That was interrupted after members discovered their church had been vandalized.
“I was awoken this morning by a phone call from a Good Samaritan that said, ‘You need to come to your church. There is graffiti all over it.’ So we were shocked,” said Carol Hudson of East Stroudsburg.
Jeffery Helm drove by and noticed the graffiti that included a swastika and vulgar messages, even an offensive depiction of a Donald Trump supporter. Shocked, he grabbed his paint supplies and tried to cover the graffiti before the first service began, but it was too much.
“I mean, I stopped in my tracks when I seen it,” said Helm of Wooddale.
Church officials say this type of thing happened eight years ago. The suspect was never caught.
The congregation went ahead with worship services then, and this time was no different.
“We are not going to let it stop us from having our service worshiping God. Don't let others affect what you need to do, what you want to do, just keep moving forward,” said John Cramer, chairman of trustees.
Members painted over the graffiti, but the whole church needs to be repainted.
“Hopefully we can find whoever did it. We can put them on the right path than the one they are on because the one they are on, they are going to end up in jail and that ain’t no fun,” said Helm.
Anyone with more information on the vandalism and who might be behind it is asked to contact state police in Monroe County.