Vandals trash New Hope Baptist Church in Wayne

New Hope Baptist Church community center vandalized

WAYNE, Mich. – Vandals trashed a building and damaged a vehicle at New Hope Baptist Church in Wayne, and it's not the first time the church has been targeted.

Every window is boarded up after someone broke into the community center, which is undergoing renovations, overnight. It is connected to the church.

Wednesday was a long day of cleaning and boarding up for New Hope members.

"We're not going to tolerate that," said Pastor Virgil Humes.

Humes got the call Wednesday morning to go to the church grounds near Michigan Avenue and Merriman Road in Wayne. He discovered the community center had been vandalized.

"The glass has been taken off this door here," Humes said.

There's shattered glass everywhere, as vandals threw bricks into every window. The building used to be a Burger King, but the church purchased it more than a year ago.

"If a teen had done this, they would have broken a window and run," Humes said. "This is someone who had malicious intent toward our community."

Humes has been the church's pastor for two decades.

"We were attacked twice before, and I'm thinking this is a pattern that's being set," Humes said.

Back in the late 1990s and early 2000s, someone spray-painted the N-word on the church, and there was also a racial attack, which led to two people being convicted. That's why he worries that broken windows could mean something more.

"Was this along the same pattern?" Humes said. "Did someone dislike us because of our culture and heritage? Was someone trying to send us a message?"

To make matters even more troubling, the church and community center sit directly across from the police station.

"They don't want to tolerate us being in this community," Humes said.

Church members are planning a community meeting with the Wayne police chief at 7 p.m. Thursday. They want to know if others have been targeted recently.