‘God forgive these vandals’

The Rev Virgil Tountas with the graffiti at his church, some of which he has covered with paper.
The Rev Virgil Tountas with the graffiti at his church, some of which he has covered with paper.
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A MINISTER whose church was attacked by vandals has asked God to forgive the culprits.

The Rev Virgil Tountas was horrified when he found the porch and front door of St Paul’s Church on Darbishire Road, Fleetwood, defaced with obscenities on Sunday.

The language was so offensive he had to quickly obscure some of the marks with his own paint and stuck paper sheets over the words on the door before the arrival of his congregation.

The vandals had also daubed the notice board in the church grounds with vile abuse.

But Mr Tountas said he felt no anger towards the people who had targeted the church.

He said: “I prayed to God to forgive them because they don’t know what they are doing.

“I believe God lets these things happen so we can become better ourselves and show love to people.

“I would just like to show these people that what they have done is not right.

“If they knew we were here to help them I don’t think they would do these things.”

He added: “There are people who are going to do things like this and you have to be strong.

“I fact, it was a perfect example of what I was going to preach about in my sermon.”

The church gates are locked each evening.

But Mr Tountas added: “It’s very easy to get over the gates. I have wondered whether we should even bother with a lock.

“We have a bench in the grounds that young people come and sit on and I don’t mind that at all.”

Chief Insp Steve Bell, of Fleetwood Police, said: “A front door, brick wall and a notice board were all sprayed with disgusting graffiti.

“It is very upsetting for the community to see these things done to a church.

“Someone must know who has done this.

“We will be attempting to discover who has done this, but anyone who has any information should call us immediately.”

Anybody who can help can contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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