After $500,000 in vandalism damage, Fort Worth church pushes forward

After $500,000 in vandalism damage, Fort Worth church pushes forward

FORT WORTH- After suffering $500,000 in vandalism damage eight months ago, part of a Fort Worth fixture is finally re-opening its doors.

St. Stephen Presbyterian will debut its remodeled and updated education wing later this month.

The building, filled with classrooms, offices, a chapel and custom windows and glass, was heavily damaged during an hours-long vandalism spree in January.

"We still don't know why," says Rev. Fritz Ritsch. "There were lots of problems. Glass that is no longer made, the color was unique and from the 50's. That took a long time to fix."

Ritsch says the entire congregation has pulled together since the incident. But what really gave them strength to push forward was support from other faiths, and even strangers.

"Churches and synagogues and mosques that have reached out and said, 'What can we do,"' says Ritsch. "Visitors showing up at our church because they heard and wanted to help, and now they've stayed and become members."

A suspect was arrested for the crime months ago but Ritsch says he never heard any word on motive.

He says the suspect left graffiti inside which mentioned ISIS, President Trump and Arabic.

"None of it made any sense, though. It was just one more thing," said the reverend.

The church's day school, as well as its efforts to house the homeless, had to be moved elsewhere while repairs were underway.

The church's central sanctuary, which is separate from the education building, wasn't damaged.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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