“I’ll be praying for them”: church’s pastor reacts to burglary/vandalism
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - “It’s not going to be pleasing to God,” Rev. Craig Liskey told 13 News late Tuesday night. He sat in the church sanctuary, stunned at the scene a member had stumbled upon just hours before when he arrived for a prayer meeting. Topeka Police are now investigating the reported burglary at Lighthouse on the Rock, a church at 3860 SE California.
Rev. Liskey says the person or persons went through every room in the church, even taking a nice chair outside to stand on and paint over a security light with dark green paint.
“Almost every door and drawer and cabinet in this church had been ransacked,” Liskey explained.
The pastor told 13 NEWS there was graffiti and vandalism inside the building, and several items were stolen. Among damage, they took a cross off the wall, scrawled a demonic symbol on it and left it upside-down in a chair. He said the thief or thieves also left a message.
“This person left a note,” Liskey said. “It’s a weird thing he said. And, when he signs it, he signs it with the Hebrew word for Hell.”
The note read: “I am not Godless, I have spoken to the Father, and I will stop and repent. Don’t let hate into your hearts. Forgive me as he has...not good but not evil. -Tophet-”
Tophet can mean ‘hell’ in Hebrew as well as being “a location in Jerusalem...where worshipers engaged in a ritual involving ‘passing a child through the fire’, most likely child sacrifice,” according to Wikipedia.
The pastor and his wife battled COVID just a few months ago and are still recovering. The pastor himself was hospitalized for 2 weeks and almost had to be intubated back in December. A church member died from the virus, and another close friend of the pastor’s recently passed away. Rev. Liskey says it has been an emotional few months and now this.
“Our people in the church are so precious and wonderful people,” the pastor said, choking up. “I’d do this ten times rather than one of them be hurt, but this is quite traumatic to us.”
The pastor says their flags, including the American flag, were taken from the sanctuary. Four to five speakers were stolen along with soundboards, iPads, and microphones. Their piano was also taken, along with a refrigerator, and 2 vacuum sweepers. A globe of the world was taken from its stand in the sanctuary. The church’s camera equipment was stolen--preventing them from streaming services which they have done during the COVID pandemic. The lock on the shed outside was broken, and things were also taken from it.
The church has insurance, however they have a high deductible to meet.
“I’ll be praying for whoever did this; I’ll be praying for them,” Rev. Liskey said.
Anyone with information may call Shawnee Co. Crime Stoppers, 785-234-0007.
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