Pastor forgives church vandals after $50K of damages - WSMV News 4

Pastor forgives church vandals, says they caused about $50k in damages

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First Baptist Church West Nashville was damaged by vandals last week. (WSMV) First Baptist Church West Nashville was damaged by vandals last week. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

A longtime Nashville pastor says he forgives the vandals who caused tens of thousands of dollars in damages to his church.

As pastor for First Baptist Church of West Nashville for 25 years, Jordan Ivey said he's never experienced anything like this before.

"We're not interested in revenge," said Ivey, speaking from the pulpit during a guest sermon at Corinthian Baptist Church. "We're not interested in folk being prosecuted."

Ivey said his message to a Wednesday noon church crowd was one he's been delivering for a long time.

"Obviously, there's something that we have not done to meet a need," he said to the crowd. "What can we do better?"

Ivey said that question has never felt more important.

"Whole place was just trashed and demolished," he said, walking through his First Baptist Church of West Nashville. "It was trash and glass everywhere."

Ivey said he came into his church Thursday to find the damage. He believes the vandals broke in sometime between Monday and Wednesday of last week.

"Those are where the light fixtures were," he said, motioning toward chains now missing lights. "They just added more damage to the ceiling."

"This side's the one they really destroyed," he continued, motioning to broken sanctuary windows. "They threw the fire extinguishers through that one."

Ivey said the vandals also damaged their sound system and threw instruments across the church. He said ceiling damages were done in places he doesn't know how they reached.

"We really can't tell because they threw so much, chairs, tables," he said. "It seemed like they threw them from the balcony."

Ivey believes the cost of all the replacements could be up to $40,000 to $50,000.

"I'm not going to say I didn't cry, that I wasn't hurt by it," he said.

Ivey said he's only looking to better understand the vandals and why they did this.

"What have we not done that the church is not important?" he asked. "We just move on. We just continue to do the work, and we need to get out and see how we can better serve this community in ministry."

A donation page for the church has been established at https://www.gofundme.com/partnering-with-the-first-church.

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