AP NEWS

Ayer Church Leaders:

March 16, 2019

AYER -- Church leaders are befuddled after their sacred space was vandalized earlier this week.

Why would someone damage several items and light all of the candles on a shrine, they wonder.

While the shock remains, the lay leader at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church said Friday they will open the church to the community Saturday, followed by a reconsecration service Sunday.

“We won’t let evil take hold of us,” said the lay leader, Isabel Geller.

The church has grown in the last year, with average Sunday attendance rising from 50 to 70 people.

Geller is anticipating a lot of people at the church this weekend.

“We don’t feel we can celebrate our service until everything has been blessed again,” she said.

The community is invited to the church, located at 7 Faulkner St. in Ayer, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The reconsecration service will be at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Police have been seeking the public’s help in finding out who broke into the church, damaged several items and lit all of the candles on a shrine Wednesday morning.

At around 10:30 a.m., Ayer Police responded to St. Andrew’s for a breaking and entering.

After arriving on scene, officers found that a front door had been forced open and several items had been thrown around and damaged inside. Among the vandalized items, the perpetrator(s) lit all of the candles on a shrine inside the church, which were still burning when officers arrived.

“When a place of worship is victimized, it’s a disturbing event not only for the parishioners, but also for the community as a whole because of their close connections to the neighborhoods they are in,” Ayer Police wrote on social media.

“We are asking that if anyone has any information, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, please private message us here or call Det. Barhight at 978-772-8200 ext. 507.”

Twitter: @rsobeyLSun