Sections

Whitestone church defaced by swastikas

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Parishioners gathering at a Whitestone church to watch the Superbowl Sunday discovered swastikas chalked onto the side of the building, authorities said.

The three markings were found on the side of the Immanuel Lutheran Church at 149-40 11th Ave., authorities said.

"Questions come into mind. Why us?" asked the Rev. David Demara, the pastor of the church. "Why that particular time? Was somebody making a statement."

The drawings were removed after police photographed them, and 50 people watched the Superbowl in the church without incident, Demara said.

The latest swastikas marked the third time the church had been vandalized in the last six months.

In August, a swastika was drawn onto the large sign in front of the church in permanent ink, according to members of the church. The symbol is still somewhat visible. Weeks later someone fired a BB gun into the church, breaking a stained glass window, members said.

"The cops asked 'Does anybody have a grudge against you?'" Demara said. The minister said he knew of no one who had any ill will toward the church.

Paul Singleman, an elder of the church, said he was one of the last people to leave the church after Sunday services and saw no markings at 1:30 p.m.

"Especially being a German Lutheran congregation, it's a huge concern, very upsetting, because of the connotations behind it," Singleman said. "It's a very old congregation. Most of them were German born and came over."

Singleman said the August incident was the first time the church had been hit since he joined in 1996.

Sunday's vandalism occurred less than a day after Immanuel Lutheran hosted a basketball tournament at its school's gym around the corner for the church.

More than a hundred people packed the gym to watch the church's youth group defeat the Whitestone firehouse of Engine 295, Ladder 144 by a score of 60-40. The event was part of the drive by Demara, who has been a minister at the church since July, to recruit new membership.

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall issued a statement saying the vandalism "is an attack on all of us."

"It involved a symbol that is repulsive to our democratic ideals and the principles on which our nation was founded," she said.

Some members of the church were not quite as outraged.

"It concerns me," said Juliann Visone, an active member of the church. "But I'm not going to lose sleep over it."

Demara said he suspected the culprits were "just kids," and said he did not want to become too upset over the matter.

"If you make too big a deal out of things, they get a kick out of it, and then it can grow," he said.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718 229-0300, Ext. 141.

Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Get our stories in your inbox, free.

Like TimesLedger on Facebook.

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

This week’s featured advertisers

CNG: Community Newspaper Group