Officials at the East Meadow United Methodist Church arrived on the premises Monday morning to discover that letters on the church sign had been rearranged to read, “Hitler,” according to Pastor Judith Stevens.
The church is located on 470 East Meadow Avenue. Stevens said the church secretary discovered the vandalism, and reported it to her. She said she also believes the American Flag on the church grounds sustained damaged, though she is not certain the two acts are connected.
The vandalism greatly upset church officials. “Intolerance and hate is certainly not a part of our ethos in any way,” Stevens said. “The church is made up of people from various different cultural backgrounds, and we have interfaith families … the congregation values everyone.”
Stevens said she reported the incident as a bias crime to the Nassau County Police Department. A public information officer from the department confirmed that police officers did respond to the scene, but said no further information was available.
The church had just celebrated its 39th annual fair on Saturday, which was well attended by dozens of community members.
Stevens said she intends to write letters to local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars organizations, to apologize. “If the flag was involved … that’s also an affront to veterans.”
She added that she will also contact rabbis in East Meadow to discuss the incident, “to see what we might do with this to turn it into an occasion to promote tolerance, freedom and interfaith cooperation,” Stevens said.