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THE CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION REPORT INDEX

The Christian Persecution Report Index is a compilation of several media-reported

 crimes against Christians and churches in the USA.

Compiled for the Month of June 2021

by Andrea Hillman

(“N/L” indicates no news was located during time of research. It does not indicate crimes were not committed.)

ALABAMA

6/3, Montgomery—Attorney General Steve Marshall has joined forces with several other AG’s around the US to protect the First Amendment rights of churches and other religious institutions, particularly as it pertains to government forcing these institutions to pay for abortions.

6/7, Montgomery—Agape Missionary Baptist Church suffered the loss of thousands of dollars worth of items during a vandalism and burglary crime. This was the third burglary in four years.

ALASKA—N/L

ARIZONA—N/L

ARKANSAS—N/L

CALIFORNIA

6/2, Richmond—Tiocha Elliot Schultz, 41, was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, and other charges in connection to the brutal death of his girlfriend, Jaimee Lynn Ellam, near the porch of Grace Lutheran Church in 2019.

6/25, Gold Run—John Waninger, 25, is accused of shooting a church caretaker at Pioneer Union Church. The caretaker allegedly spotted Waninger coming out of the church with some of its musical equipment. The caretaker is expected to recover.

6/29, Grass Valley—A caller from an unspecified local church reported the church has been receiving ongoing threats from an unnamed individual.

COLORADO—N/L

CONNECTICUT—N/L

DELWARE—N/L

FLORIDA

6/6, Cape Coral—The Water’s Edge Church pastor, Don Neace, believes his church was deliberately targeted when the property was desecrated by vandals who spray-painted with obscene messages and pictures about God onto their church parking lot. Other items were also damaged. As of the following weekend, it was still not decided if this act of hate would be prosecuted as a hate crime.

6/8, Bellview—A children’s ministry pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, David Patrick Nims, 38 is charged with video voyeurism on a child younger than 16.

6/10, Port Charlotte—Clayton Lynch, 31, was arrested for felony criminal mischief to a church, synagogue, mosque, or religious article after allegedly vandalizing St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church. Video surveillance shows several church stained glass doors and a statue of the Ten Commandments being damaged.

6/13, Daytona Beach—A “suspicious” fire is being investigated by officials. Calvary Baptist Church was suffered severe damage and had to be completely demolished a few days later.

6/18-20, Eastpoint—Hope Park, a Christian organization that serves over two dozen children every weekday with free meals and care, was targeted by vandals. Many of the outside games and equipment was severely damaged, as well as other items and the building.

GEORGIA

6/9, John’s Creek—Christopher Wollstein, 37, was arrested for theft and vandalism to a place of worship. Wollstein posted a TikTok video of himself using black spray-paint to vandalize the church.

6/9, John’s Creek—Several incidents of desecration have been found at Macedonia African Methodist Church Cemetery. The local government is considering passing new laws in response.

6/19-20, Rossville—Mission Ridge Baptist Church suffered vandalism of several items and were left hand-written notes. The content of the notes were not noted by any news organizations.

6/24, Macon—Bibb County Deputies responded to a call concerning a burglary at Bell’s Temple Church, only to discover the church had been set on fire. The incident is under investigation.

HAWAII—N/L

IDAHO—N/L

ILLINOIS

6/8, Wonder Lake—Christopher Kalisz, 39, was arrested mere hours after posting bail for several burglaries in the area, was allegedly caught burglarizing Wonder Lake Bible Church after fleeing from the church. Kalisz now faces several more charges, including criminal damage to property at a place of worship.

INDIANA

6/10, Terre Haute—Derrick Foster, 39, was arrested in connection with the vandalism of several churches in the area in May. One note he allegedly left behind referenced Islam. Foster was also wanted for several unrelated incidents, including domestic battery and strangulation.

6/22, Newburgh—Josh Henley, 32, a youth minister at Washington Avenue Church of Christ in Evansville, Indiana, was arrested in Tennessee on charges of three counts of statutory rape and sexual battery. There are at least three victims in Tennessee. Authorities believe there may be victims in several states, including Indiana.

IOWA

6/22, McGregor—The United Methodist Church was vandalized with “666,” “satan,” and a pentagram in dark colored spray paint.

KANSAS—N/L

KENTUCKY—N/L

LOUISIANA

6/20, Singer—Items used for worship were stolen from an unnamed church south of Singer. The report did not state the estimated value of the items.

MAINE

6/20, Bangor—A man was shot outside the Rock Church in Bangor and is currently recovering. The police are investigating.

MARYLAND

6/6, Princess Anne—Two mausoleum crypts and the cross on a tombstone suffered serious damage by vandals who attacked the cemetery of St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

MASSACHUSETTS

6/10, Franklin—St. Mary’s School property was violated with tens of thousands of dollars in vandalism damages. The incident remains under investigation.

MICHIGAN—N/L

MINESSOTA

6/9, Austin—International Word Fellowship suffered an vandalism attack when spray-painted words and satanic symbols onto the church.

MISSISSIPPI

6/2, Neshoba County—A catalytic converter was stolen from a vehicle at Ocobla Baptist Church.

6/4, Fulton—David Bridges, 39, was arrested in connection with breaking into Evergreen Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The church was also vandalized.

6/25, Vicksburg—Brandi Powers, 30, was arrested by Vicksburg Police after they responded to a burglary at New Life Ministries.

MISSOURI

6/1, Jefferson City—A cross was lit on fire inside the Christian Fellowship Church. The same suspect, caught on camera, is being sought in connection with the burglary that took place.

6/17, Columbia—Reborn Blessing Pantries report they have been vandalized and defaced numerous times and have even had some of the pantries stolen, but their pantry at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church often suffers severe damage.

MONTANA

6/9, Helena—Durbin Tabb, 21, was arraigned in court in connection with the vandalism of the Cathedral of St. Helena. He is charged with felony criminal mischief and felony malicious intimidation. He was released on his own recognizance and is scheduled to face a jury trial in October.

6/21, Alberton—Denim Renee Howard pleaded guilty and was sentenced in connection with the fire that severely damaged the United Methodist Church. She was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of over $135,000. The church is on the National Register of Historic Places.

NEBRASKA

6/15, Lexington—Ric Brundidge, 35, faced further sentencing for burglaries in Dawson County. He was also sentenced in April 2021 for the burglary of Westmark Evangelical Free Church.

NEVADA

6/23, Reno—The state of Nevada will pay $175,000 in legal fees to settle a lawsuit with Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley after a U.S. Appeals Court ruled the state’s Covid capacity caps were illegal. A second church, Calvary Chapel Lone Mountain in Las Vegas is seeking to move forward with their lawsuit against the state.

NEW HAMPSHIRE—N/L

NEW JERSEY

6/1, Newark—A firefighter was injured in a 2-alarm fire that ravaged St. Lucy’s rectory. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Dept. of Public Safety’s Arson Unit.

6/8, Montclair—Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church reported vandalism when an outdoor fixture was pulled away from the wall of the church.

6/18-20, Toms River—Some days prior to June 24, St. Barbara’s Greek Orthodox Church suffered two separate incidents of vandalism. In one incident, the offender(s) appear to have used a sledgehammer to destroy part of the property.

NEW MEXICO

6/21, Farmington—James Sorrelhorse, 32, is accused of stealing more than $6,000 worth of property from Sagebrush Church. The incident was caught on surveillance cameras.

NEW YORK

6/1, Elmhurst—It is being reported that a 130-year-old statue of the Blessed Mother was vandalized and left in pieces on the grounds of St. Adalbert Church. Funds are being raised to repair the statue.

6/4, Elmhurst—An arrest was made in relation to the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial vandalism in Elmhurst which included despicable vulgarities concerning God.

6/8, Astoria—Graffiti was spray-painted onto the Immaculate Conception Church.

6/12, Bronx—Gun violence took the life of a 42-year-old male and injured a female outside St. Anthony of Padua Church. The assailant was unknown at the time of this report.

6/25, Bronx—A monstrance worth $10,000 was stolen from St. Barnabas Catholic Church. A suspect was later arrested.

NORTH CAROLINA

6/2?, Mitchell County—A church bell was stolen from a local church.

6/8, High Point—Robert Booth, 25, Pastor of Hood Holiness Church was shot and killed and today, the suspects photos were released. The beloved pastor, who was recently ordained and engaged, was known for his ability to talk to anyone and often took the gospel to the streets. According to the Christian Post, Dwayne Waden Jr., associate pastor of Hood Holiness Church, stated Booth texted him shortly before his death, asking him to lookout for the church “if anything” happened to him.

6/9, Alamance County—Nickie Brewer, 33, was arrested for breaking and entering, and burning a church building. The Spring Friends Meeting House suffered burn damage in April. Another suspect is still being sought in connection to the case.

6/17, Black Mountain—Trent Brandon Holbert, 41, pastor of The Ridge Church, was charged with indecent liberties with a child and two counts of statutory sex offense. He previously pastored a church in Kentucky. There is an ongoing investigation at this time.

NORTH DAKOTA

6/14, Fargo—A possible suspect has been located in connection to the April 17th vandalism of the Jesus statue at St. Mary’s Cathedral. The statue was found with black spray-paint across the face.

OHIO

6/14, Cincinnati—Jory Leedy, 51, was sentenced to 30 years in U.S. District Court for sexually abuse under the age of 12. He met children while volunteering as a bus driver for a religious organization. He also took the boys to church and religious concerts.

OKLAHOMA—N/L

OREGON

6/18?, Tigard—Jerry Nesseth, 58, known as a “rafting missionary” with Oregon Adventure Ministries, was indicted on charges of sexual abuse. The abuse allegedly occurred in 2019.

PENNSYLVANIA

6/2, Loganton—The Fire that damaged Mount of Blessings Camp has been determined to be arson. The fire inside the church was ignited by a hand-held source and did significant damage to several items.

6/7, Wilkes-Barre—Parsons Primitive Methodist Church suffered vile vandalism when seven people broke into the church. Human feces was smeared on the American Flag and Bibles were torn apart, amongst other damages. The vandalism may be considered a federal hate crime and be investigated by the FBI.

6/16, Butler—A burglar broke into St. Joseph Catholic Church and stole hundreds of dollars.

6/19, Philadelphia—St. Veronica Church was damaged in a case of attempted arson. The incident is being investigated by Philadelphia’s Arson Task Force, the PPD, and the ATF. It is believed an “incendiary device” caused the fire. The church leadership stated there had been no recent threats to the church.

RHODE ISLAND—N/L

SOUTH CAROLINA

6/9, Fairfield County—Thieves targeted St. Mark Baptist Church. Two air-conditioning units were stolen, as well as the catalytic converter from the church van. The church’s graveyard was also vandalized.

SOUTH DAKOTA—N/L

TENNESSEE

6/1, Kingsport—Two separate fires were reported this week at Highland Freewill Baptist Church. There is no power connected to the abandoned church. Anti-Christian graffiti was found inside, but it is not known how long it had been there or if it is connected to the fires.

6/1, Shady Valley—Shady Valley Presbyterian Church suffered an attack, allegedly by two juvenile. Anti-Christian messages were written on the walls inside the building and bricks, forming the shape of a swastika, were found on the grounds. A toilet was deliberately used to cause flooding, and a fire may have been started, but was apparently doused by rain.

6/3, Rutherford County—Congregants located two fires within Lifepoint Church during Wednesday night services. A juvenile has confessed and been charged with aggravated arson and vandalism.

6/7, Gallatin—36-year-old, William Hampton, from Kentucky, was arrested for the theft of the catalytic converter from the van belonging to Southside Baptist Church. It is believed he may be responsible for targeting several churches in this manner throughout middle Tennessee and other states.

6/14, Springville—After allegedly being seen under a vehicle at Russwood Baptist Church is in Springville, Dwayne Morgan, 25, was arrested in connection with the thefts of several catalytic converters.

6/15, Knoxville—The Laurel Church of Christ was burglarized. The suspect was caught on surveillance and is being sought.

6/19-20, Walker County—Mission Ridge Baptist Church suffered severe vandalism over the weekend. A cross was targeted, fire extinguishers were discharged, profanity-laden notes left around the building, flags and banners left in disarray, and someone urinated in an inappropriate place inside the church.

TEXAS

6/11-13, Lubbock—St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church was viciously vandalized over the weekend. They suffered tens of thousands of dollars in damage.

6/11-13, Tyler—Asbury United Methodist Church barely escaped a vandalism event thanks to the church’s security system.

6/12, Tyler—Tyler First United Methodist Church was found utterly vandalized in every room. The altar was desecrated, dog feces was found, a broken window, and a kitchen in disarray—after the vandals apparently helped themselves to some church food, and floors left in shambles.

6/24, Parker County—Two juveniles are being sought in connection to the alleged arson that took place at the historic Carter School and Church, a Civil War era structure. The building was a total loss.

UTAH—N/L

VERMONT—N/L

VIRGINIA

6/30, Powhatan County—Kaitlyin Danielle Frazier, 27, was allegedly interrupted by a deputy while attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a van belonging to Mt. Calvary Baptist Church. She is facing several charges.

WASHINGTON

6/15, Centralia—An unnamed church on Mt. Vista Rd. reported vandalism by graffiti.

6/16, East Wenatchee—Joseph David Lee, 31, after police were able to track an ipad stolen from New Song Community Church. Items from a recent burglary at Eastmont Community Church were also found in the home.

WEST VIRGINIA—N/L

WISCONSIN—N/L

WYOMING—N/L

______________________________________________________________

Andrea Hillman is a contributing writer and journalist for Blue Ridge Christian News, as well as creator and news aggregator for The Christian Persecution Report. She enjoys a wide variety of artistic endeavors, world travel, and has recently discovered she has a green thumb. You can read more of her work here. Please reach out to her at thechristianpersecutionreport@gmail.com, at The Christian Persecution Report page on Facebook, or on LinkedIn.