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Despite repeated vandalism to Jesus billboard, Carbon County church community forgives

By 69 News, (follow: @69news), news@wfmz.com
Published On: Sep 07 2013 11:17:13 AM CDT
Updated On: Sep 09 2013 05:02:56 AM CDT

Words of forgiveness from the pastor whose church's billboard has been vandalized several times.

MAHONING TWP.,Pa. -

Words of forgiveness came from the pastor whose church's billboard has been vandalized several times.

Pastor Nathan Kennedy said his congregation is praying for the vandal.

Police say the billboard, with the image of Jesus on it, has been spray-painted several times on Route 209 in Mahoning Township, Carbon Co.

The billboard belongs to the Ebenezer Evangelical Congregational Church.

The pastor told 69 News the billboard has been damaged about 10 times in 15 months.

He also says the vandalism has gotten even worse.

Just two weeks ago, somebody took a crowbar or hammer to damage the sign.

"We think someone is targeting us," Kennedy said. "We don't know why. It may be our church. Maybe somebody doesn't want the picture of Jesus and wants it taken down."

The pastor said the community has rallied around the church with donations and words of encouragement.

And the congregation now has a stronger bond.

"Our church community here at Ebenezer has been praying for whoever has been vandalizing our sign," Kennedy said. "They have a great Christ-like attitude about whoever is doing this."

The church has been a part of the fabric of the community since the mid-1800s.

Longtime residents are hoping police will make an arrest soon.

Jim Thorpe resident John Cherb said, "So why they're picking on this beautiful little congregation here, I'll never know. But it's very unfair, unfortunate really."

The pastor said police are keeping a close eye on the billboard.

Anyone with information is asked to call Mahoning police at 570-386-2241.