When parishioners at The Glory of Christ Church in the Parkchester section of The Bronx arrived for service on Sunday morning, they found their church—located in a formerly run-down synagogue that they'd lovingly rescued from decay—reduced to a smoldering ruin. The fire, which broke out around 4 a.m., took 100 firefighters to extinguish and is being investigated as a hate crime. The walls were spray-painted with a pentagram, "666," and "Hail to Satan," along with, "We hate Jews and Christians" and "GET OFF OUR BLOCK." After stealing $300 from the offering box, vandals stacked chairs in the sanctuary and set them on fire.
The church opened in 2001 and has been operating a soup kitchen for the past few years, thanks in part to a $5,000 donation from the late Yankees outfielder and broadcaster Bobby Murcer. (A chauffeur for Murcer is a parishioner.) The church also runs clothing drives and 16 boxes of recently-donated clothing from Macy's were likely ruined with water damage. Oh, and they also lost an unspecified amount of medicine they were preparing to send to Africa. Where do satanists worship so we can go burn their place down?
One parishioner tells NY1, "We're all surprised because we really have no conflicts, no strife with anybody in the community. On the contrary, we consider ourselves a church that goes beyond the four walls. We're active, we do a soup kitchen, we reach out." Since losing their spiritual home, the congregation is holding small prayer meetings in various apartments. But Rev. Raymond Talavera, the church’s pastor, isn't going to let the Satanists win: "We're not going to be driven away from this block. We're going to regroup, we're going to move forward and we're going to do bigger and better things by god's grace in the days to come."