L.G.B.T. church in Palm Beach Gardens vandalized

Posted at 7:04 PM, Feb 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-23 19:05:19-05
Vandals pulled down the electrical wires at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Palm Beaches, causing an electrical surge and frying all computers, telephones and their organ.
The incident happened on Sept.18, but church officials have only now gone public with it. 
“It was very, very sad,” Rev. Dr. Lea Brown, senior pastor at the MCC of the Palm Beaches said. “It was very demoralizing.”
Rev. Brown said she discovered the incident only after trying to turn on the lights in the building. When nothing worked, she went outside and saw the damage.
“All these wires were pulled down here and these black smoke marks where the electrical surge happened when the wires were pulled,” Brown said.  “We were very fortunate that the whole building didn’t burn down.”
It’s not the first time houses of worship in the area have been vandalized. A mosque in Fort Pierce was set on fire last year. 
Local Jewish Community Centers have been evacuated at least twice after bomb threats. 
Rev. Brown said it hasn’t been the first time her church has seen something like this happen. 
“We’re an MCC, things happen here that don’t happen at other churches,” Brown said. “We get hate mail, we get phone calls, people mess with our sign out on the street.”
According to hate crime data collected by the FBI, L.G.B.T. people were more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority in 2014. 
“And that’s the environment that we’re living in at the moment,” Brown said. “There are many people in my congregation who are living in fear.”
Rev. Brown said that several MCC churches across the state have had cases of vandalism. 
The MCC of Palm Beaches did not have surveillance cameras installed at the time, but they do now. 
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is investigating. So far Brown said no suspects have been found and there is no motive. 
Through their insurance claim, the MCC of the Palm Beaches was able to replace their electrical equipment.
But they still need around $60,000 to pay for a new organ. Click this link to go to their GoFundMe page.