Vandals Strike Church Days Before Easter

| April 3, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Smith Springs Baptist Church is a small church with a rich history in south Nashville.

"It's 130 years old," said church member Mary Hill. "It was in the middle of Percy Priest Lake originally. When the lake was built, it was moved over here."

The church has only 60 members, but their faith is strong.

"We love the Lord, and we love each other, and it's just a great place to be," Hill said.

That's why Hill can't understand why anyone would want to target the church.

"As a Christian, (it) is probably the saddest thing we can think of," she said.

Some time between Thursday evening and Friday morning, vandals spray-painted the church sign. Among the markings was a changed message. The sign was supposed to read: "We serve a risen savior – Jesus." But the name of Jesus was darkened, replaced with the name Satan. It happened just three days before Easter.

"The idea that someone would pick this time of year to do that is a little sad, especially for them," Hill said. "I'm very sorry they felt the need to do that."

The church sign is one of the few things that has changed with the church in the last 100 years. A community has grown up around the church, possibly putting it at risk for vandals.

Someone broke into the church three weeks ago. Several doors were forced open, but nothing was taken.

"We had nothing that anybody would be interested in taking. We're so small," said Hill.

The church doors have been replaced. The sign has been turned around. The changes were made not to hide the damage, but to get out the real message of the church and its members.

"Whether his name is painted over or not has no effect on how glorious this time of year is to us," Hill said.

Anyone with information about the break-in or the vandalism is asked to call Metro police.

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Category: Church Security