Vigil scheduled for Tuesday night to show support for Iowa City church vandalized with swastikas

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Community vigil

1035 Wade Street, Iowa City — Tuesday, Mar. 12 at 7 p.m.

The Greater Iowa City Church of the Nazarene, 1035 Wade St, Iowa City. Thursday, March 8, 2018. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

The Johnson County Interfaith Coalition is hosting a vigil on Tuesday night at the Greater Iowa City Church of the Nazarene, which was vandalized earlier this month. The church on Wade Street was defaced with spray-painted swastikas and other graffiti on the night of March 2. The building also houses IC Compassion, a faith-based nonprofit that provides services to immigrants.

The vigil is intended to demonstrate the community’s support for the church and IC Compassion.

Rev. Teresa Stecker, senior pastor of the church and executive director of IC Compassion, addressed the vandalism in a Facebook post.

This incident has created great sadness to the many men, women, and children of various cultural origins who share our facility. However, in the midst of this shock and sorrow, we have been keenly reminded that we are a church that believes in the powerful good news of Jesus Christ which is based on a message of love, of kindness and peace for all. We believe that we are all created in the image of God, but in need of reconciliation with God and each other. In light of that faith, we will stand against any prejudice responsible for racial and ethnic humiliation. Our church, in partnership with IC Compassion will continue to seek ways to remove barriers of oppression, to facilitate forgiveness, promote reconciliation, and empower those who have been marginalized.

Stecker explained the church is reviewing its current security measures, and will add more security cameras if necessary. The Iowa City Police Department is still investigating the vandalism.

The Church of Nazarene in Iowa City was first organized in 1926, growing out of a weekly prayer meeting started the year before. In 2002, the church reorganized into two new congregations, First African Nazarene Church and La Iglesia Unidos en Cristo.

In addition to its partnership with IC Compassion, the church also works in partnership with the Chinese Community Fellowship, Infuse and Open Door.

IC Compassion was founded in 2006, and expanded its mission to include providing low-cost legal immigration assistance in 2011. It works with clients in seven Iowa counties: Johnson, Linn, Cedar, Muscatine, Washington and Scott.

The interfaith vigil, which is open to all members of the community, is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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