THE CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION REPORT INDEX
The Christian Persecution Report Index is a compilation of reported incidents against Christians and desecration of their places of worship in the USA
Compiled for the Month of April 2021
by Andrea Hillman
4/6, Florence– William Jeffries and Clifford Leonard are arrested after Jeffries allegedly attempted to cash a check stolen from a local church in the amount of $10,000. They are charged with third degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and first-degree theft of property.
4/16, Tuscaloosa– A woman discovers a murder suspect in a church parking lot. A capital murder warrant was issued for Darren Childers, 26, following the murder of his 19-year-old cousin. The witness located Childers in a vehicle on the church property, dead of an apparently self-inflicted gun-shot wound.
4/17 or 18, Woodland—Three statues were vandalized at Holy Rosary Catholic Church. Black paint was sprayed over the eyes of the statues.
4/21, Los Angeles— Security cameras at St. Elisabeth Catholic Church in Van Nuys, California, captured images of a masked person repeatedly smashing a mural with a sledgehammer.
4/25, Rancho Cordova—A statue of Mary was reported being defaced with black spray paint via Twitter. The statue was painted black across the face, hands, feet, and painted with a cross.
4/10, Elbert County—Two suspects allegedly vandalized the Son Country Community Church and disengaged the security system. A smashed window, “hate” graffiti, and fire extinguisher damage were found by local deputies who were responding to a burglary report. The suspects were apprehended shortly after the incident.
4/30, Grand Junction—Trenton Neil Switzer, 40, of Gypsum, pleads guilty to filing a false tax return. Switzer created the Church of Divine Sovereignty in 2015 as a non-profit organization to avoid paying taxes on $250,000.
4/28, Leesburg—Michael J. Leachman, 31, was charged with burglary and second-degree arson of GraceWay Church. GraceWay suffered no less than $500,000 in losses during the incident.
4/1, Woodstock— The Woodstock Church of Christ faces harsh backlash from LGBTQ advocates for following standard Biblical teachings concerning church discipline. The Church requested a woman show repentance for her recent lifestyle choices to remain a member of the congregation.
4/4, Augusta—The church cross was found burned on Easter Sunday at Cokesbury United Methodist Church. A suspect, Billie Burdette, 42, was taken into custody.
4/26, Cook County—An alleged gang-member was charged with killing Maria Reveron, a woman shot in the back of her head, on her way home from church while her husband was driving the vehicle.
4/26, Joliet—33-year-old, Kentrell Lorenzo Ray was arrested in connection to the April 7th burglary of Total Life Christian Ministry.
4/4, New Castle—Tyler Jacob Gramelspacher, 36, of Indianapolis, was taken into custody on Easter morning after allegedly injuring a sheriff’s deputy while resisting arrest. The deputies were dispatched to the Church of God after Gramelspacher was seen in “military-style clothing” and leaving a backpack inside the church. A large knife was located in the backpack.
4/11, Irvington—A shuttle bus belonging to Irvington Presbyterian Church was vandalized for the second time in four weeks. Security cameras recorded a male under the van, where the catalytic converter was removed. The bus is used to shuttle senior citizens from local nursing homes.
4/27, Hammond—Aaron Vonoppens, 25, was sentenced to three years for his role in the attack on Faith United Church of Christ in 2019. The damage to the church was extensive, including an irreplaceable organ, and markings of “666” and “hail Satan.” His co-defendant, Nicholas D. Reding, 24, pled guilty to burglarizing the church. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
4/20, Sioux City—Alicia Jenness, 42, plead guilty to second degree theft. The former bookkeeper at Immaculate Conception Church was ordered to repay $30,000 of the $72,101 she stole from the church. The remainder of the balance was covered by insurance.
4/8-9, Ludlow—A shrine, including the arch, was set on fire at Our Lady of Fatima Church.
4/15, Springfield—Dushko Vulchev, 44, of Maine, was charged with federal hate crimes. Vulchev is accused of the arson of the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Presbyterian Church. He is also accused of vandalism and multiple arson attempts against the church that took place prior to the most recent incident.
4/28, Springfield—Black spray paint was used to deface a sign at the Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Springfield, Mass. The crime is under investigation.
4/29, Everett—Zion Baptist Ministries suffered vandalism after their cross was pulled out of the ground and left in a nearby yard. The act is being condemned and called a “hate-crime” by the mayor. The act was caught on camera.
4/1, Gowen—An abbey of nuns suffered an attack by an unknown person or persons who fired gunshots at them. Two bullet holes were found lodged in a bedroom wall of the Mother Abbess. This is the third attack against them in the last several weeks.
4/4 weekend, Elkland—The historic Pleasant View Church was damaged by vandals over Easter weekend. Some items damaged include a piece of 100 year old stained glass and the pulpit. The damage was noticed by people passing by on Easter Sunday.
Weekend prior to 4/26, Blue Springs—Capernaum Missionary Baptist Church suffered an attack when an unknown person or persons spray-painted a racial slur and a cross inside a circle in red along the back of the outside wall.
4/5, Winston-Salem—Over the Easter weekend, Born Free Again Church was vandalized with blue and black spray paint. Church members say vandalism against their church has taken place several times. The damage is believed to be gang-related.
4/27, Tobaccoville—T. Elliott Welch, 34, Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Stanleyville, was arrested on child pornography charges after the sheriff’s office investigators allegedly received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
4/27, Greensboro—A former employee of Fellowship Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Day School, Alyson Brooke Saunders, 25, was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to producing and distributing child pornography, and abusing five minor children in her care.
4/17, Fargo—A statue of Jesus outside St. Mary’s Cathedral was defaced with black spray paint on the face.
4/1, Cleveland—Jamal Kukla is found incompetent to stand trial for the murder of Jasmine Washington, 31. Washington, the daughter of the Reverend of Straightway Bible Fellowship, was beaten to death and found hidden under stairs outside Broadway Christian Church in 2018. Kukla was arrested in 2020 after DNA evidence collected from the crime scene allegedly matched his own.
4/16, Portland—Rioters have again vandalized First Christian Church. Money spent on repairs are affecting their ability to feed the needy in the community.
4/5, Orangeburg—Theft of the muffler and part of the exhaust system from the activity van belonging to St. Matthew’s Church is reported stolen.
4/12, Columbia—Deborah Leslie, 55, and Gary Nichols, 57, are accused of criminal conspiracy and grand larceny in connection to the theft of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
4/7, Sharon– 25-year-old Codie Austin Clark, of Sharon, Tennessee, a former volunteer firefighter in the Dresden Fire Department, is charged with the arson of the New Salem Presbyterian Church in Weakley County on Easter Sunday. He was arrested on one count of arson of a place of worship.
4/17, Memphis—Smothers Chapel CME was damaged by arson. Several fires were set throughout the building. The damages amount to approximately $7,000.
4/28, Crossville—Someone threw an object through a church window. The pastor had recently begun blocking the entrance to the property after trash and drug paraphernalia was discovered on church grounds.
4/5, Highlands—Police are called out to a body discovered in a field behind the Second Baptist Church. The victim suffered multiple stab wounds, possibly of a ritualistic nature. It is unclear how long the body was there, but the victim is believed to be a young adult male. Two teenagers already being held on unrelated charges, were charged with the murder.
4/6, Robstown—St. Anthony’s Church is desecrated by multiple vandals. The church is not pressing charges.
4/13, Brownsville—A person is caught on surveillance cameras stealing a barbeque pit from a local church.
4/19, Winona—Mytrez Deunte Woolen, 21, accused of capital murder in the shooting death of Pastor Mark McWilliams, among other charges, entered a plea of not guilty during an arraignment hearing conducted via Zoom. He remains in jail under a $3.5 million bond.
4/20, Cookville—Vandals caused significant damage to the grounds of Lone Star Missionary Baptist Church and its adjacent cemetery.
4/29, Grapevine—Lara Lynn Ford, 51, is sentenced to 10 years in prison after stealing more than $1,000,000 from Fellowship Church in Grapevine. She intends to apply for “shock probation.”
4/24, Puyallup—Motion Church cancels an event featuring conservative speaker, Charlie Kirk. The decision was made following a warning shared by police that opposition groups were threatening destruction and physical violence against the church, church members, and the community, if the event was held.
Andrea Hillman is a contributing writer and journalist for Blue Ridge Christian News and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, at The Christian Persecution Report page on Facebook, or on LinkedIn.