Local authorities are investigating a possible hate crime at a church in Sylmar, California after three wooden crosses were set on fire.
According to Faithwire, the incident took place at around 5 a.m. at the Sylmar Christian Fellowship Church on July 6.
“Because it’s at a church – on church property – it’s something that we always try to rule out,” Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Stephen Phillips told CBS News. “So we notify our House of Worship Task Force, which consists of the LAFD, LAPD, ATF, and FBI.”
The three crosses, positioned in front of the church building, were reportedly soaked in lighter fluid before being set ablaze, authorities noted.
In a statement by the LAFD, officers “found the flames to be out … and only smoldering wood remained” when they reached the church property.
The church pastor, Pierre Howard, met with investigators and shared that no threats have been made against the church, and the reason for the attack is unknown.
“It’s a shame people still want to do something like this,” said Pastor Pierre Howard.
“We have a diverse community,” he continued. “We have Hispanic, we have black, we have white, we have come as you are, we don’t really care. … I think it’s a hate crime of someone who hates God.”
The pastor said that the crosses will be reinstalled.
“We’re going to put those three crosses back up,” the pastor said. “We’re moving forward.”
In a Facebook post-Thursday morning, the church thanked those praying for the congregation following the incident.
“Good morning, Family and Friends! We want to let everyone know that we are doing well and the church is Good,” the statement said. “We thank you for your prayers.”
Included in the post was a new wooden cross outside the church building.
Photo courtesy: ©md Jerry/Unsplash
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.