CAMBY, Ind. – Lydia Watson and her family were just at the Neighborhood Bible Church Wednesday for Bible study.
“Last night we were here for an hour and we just prayed,” Watson said.
Watson, who leads the church alongside her husband, said all was well when they left the church on Camby Road that night. However, a phone call Thursday morning would bring them right back.
“Around 9 a.m. my husband received a call that the police were on the scene and someone had vandalized the property,” she said.
When the Watsons arrived, they found the windows and doors of their church shattered and shattered, along with stones inside on the floor.
A few steps away, in the back parking lot, was the church bus. The bus, which was a donation, housed the church’s mobile pantry, which was due to launch in a few months.
“We’re undertaking a project called Neighborhood Go Grocery,” Watson said. “We had been working on this bus to travel through food deserts and food swamps to increase access to food in the city.”
However, plans for the project are temporarily on hold as nighttime vandalism has also reached the bus, causing extensive damage to the windshield and windows.
“They damaged the side windows, damaged doors, it does a lot of damage and it really sets us back, a lot,” she said. “In fact, we had just shown our bus to the funders, who wanted us to submit a proposal. I’m going to be a little terrified to let them know it’s been vandalized so there are other costs we didn’t anticipate.
Although her family has lived in the Camby area for six years, Watson said she recently opened the church in January. To experience such damage, she said, feels like an assault on the community and its overall mission, especially among the few black-led churches in the region.
“There was a spirit of hatred, violence and crime against all that is good, and so I believe that’s where this act came from,” she said. “It was an act against the community. It was violence against love, and it was violence against family.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police is investigating the incident, but has no further information to share with FOX59.
As police work to uncover who is behind the vandalism, neighbors are hoping to help, including one who showed nighttime surveillance video from his Ring camera to FOX59.
The video, which is just over a minute long, shows two people looking through his trailer, which is across from the rear parking lot of the church. At the end of the video, the same two people are seen holding an object directly in front of the church bus.
As the police investigate, the Watsons do their best to focus on the future. With the church windows boarded up, they want people to know that their morale is far from low.
“We have every means to come back here on Sunday and do what we’ve been doing since January,” she said. “We’re going to pray, we’re going to sing, we’re going to smile, we’re going to kiss.”
the church accept donations to assist with repairs and recovery efforts.
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