DUMFRIES, Va. - A Prince William County church has been targeted with messages of hate over the weekend. Church members at Greater Praise Temple Ministries in Dumfries said they found racist and anti-Semitic signs posted at the church’s front entrance on Sunday.
FOX 5 was told it took about two hours for police to respond to the predominantly African American church after it was reported and it is the first time an incident like this has happened here.
The church may seem small from the outside, but inside Greater Praise Temple Ministries, some say there is a love so big that it fills up the entire room.
“People say when they come here, they can feel the love of God here,” said Sister Gwen, who has been coming to the church for about the past year and a half.
She said even though there are only about 30 to 40 members at this church, it is a family she is blessed to be a part of.
“We love people when they come in the door,” she said.
On Sunday, a sign of what appears to be a person in a suit wearing a hood of the Ku Klux Klan with the text, "Now that's white power. Day of the rope is coming [n-word]” was placed nearby at the front door nearby the church’s welcome mat.
Another sign posted contained several swastikas and the words, “The Fourth Reich.”
"It's very disturbing … There are a lot of churches in this area,” said Sister Gwen. “But for the people of color, we have to go through this – it's like taking a step back to the 50s and 60s.”
Until the police catch the person responsible for this, Sister Gwen said all she can do now together with her church group is pray and help educate.
“We are praying for the perpetrators, we are praying for love in the community and not hate,” she said. “We are praying for togetherness and we are praying that they will catch them.”
According to police, a police report was filed both online and over the phone. They said there was no indication of anyone being in fear for their lives.
Officers came back out to the church on Monday to confiscate the signs and collect them as a part of evidence. As of right now, police are investigating this incident as a possible hate crime.