The members of New Faith Full Gospel Church have been hit before, but never this bad.
In the past eight years, thieves have broken into the tiny southeast Atlanta church and taken microwaves, lawn equipment, even the church keyboard.
As Pastor Beverly Kempson said, “You can replace a microwave.”
This time, burglars gutted walls and ceilings, ripping out copper wires and pipes and leaving the Jonesboro Road church unusable for its 50 members.
“They might as well have burned the building down,” Kempson said. “Everybody is devastated and in shock.”
An usher who arrived first Sunday morning discovered the damage and called Kempson’s husband, Bishop Gregory Kempson. Beverly Kempson said she knew something terrible was wrong by listening to her husband’s side of the conversation, but she still was shocked at the damage.
“It looked like somebody took an ax and gutted the church. They cut the wires for the electricity. We had no electricity, no water, nothing,” she said. “I can’t imagine anybody not fearing God. Forget people, we’re human. But not to fear God and to be able to do that?”
Kempson’s father built and pastored the church before his daughter and son-in-law took it over. The church is just inside I-285, but that section of Jonesboro Road is fairly isolated, and Kempson said they have been broken into three other times in the past eight years.
She is worried this latest incident will cause the church to lose its insurance.
Police are investigating, but no arrests have been made, Atlanta police spokesman Officer John Chafee said.
With no plumbing or electricity, Kempson said she and her husband do not know when or where the congregation will next meet.
“My husband is just laying it before the Lord,” she said. “My prayer is the person or persons who did this will come under the fear of God. My desire is to see them get saved.”
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