First Posted: 3/13/2013
The 110-year-old First United Methodist Church on Broad Street in Pittston has been vandalized four times since January.
In January, vandals broke a stained glass window on the back of the church in the alley-like space adjacent to the back of St. John’s The Evangelist Church which fronts William Street.
The replacement value of the window is $3,600. Kathy Thygrillini of the church council said the church filed an insurance claim, but the church will have to pay a $500 deductible.
On Feb. 2, two more windows were broken on the back of the church, the marquee in front was smashed and letters were strewn on the ground. After that incident, the congregation installed a motion detector light, but that didn’t help.
On Tuesday of this week, vandals struck for a fourth time, breaking a ground-level frosted glass window in the back. Thygrillini said the vandals may have been trying to break into the church. If they were, they were foiled as what looks like a basement window has a wall behind it.
While the windows broken in the most recent incidents don’t have the value of the stained-glass window broken in January, the church is responsible for a $500 deductible on each window.
That’s $2,000 the tiny, financially-strapped congregation can ill afford. Based on the number of offering envelopes sent out, the church has only 40 to 45 families and 60 to 70 active members.
“Everybody is disgusted already,” Thygrillini said. “Don’t they have anything better to do than smash windows on a church of all things?”
Joe Malecki, a parishioner whose daughter is going to be married in the church this summer, helped board up the broken windows. “It’s very disheartening,” he said. “And it’s frustrating because it’s right across from the police station.”
The parish was founded in 1849. The current church was built in 1903. The original church was built in 1850 across Church Street on what is now a parking lot.
Parishioner Grace Rose said the story goes that the new church was built after parishioner J. P MacDonald said he had to put his umbrella up in the old church because of holes in the roof.
Rose said she’s glad the vandalism made the newspaper. “Maybe this will alert people to what is going on and that it can happen anywhere.”