Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Church organist arrested in post-election vandalism at Episcopal congregation in Indiana


[Episcopal News Service] A staff organist has been arrested in the post-election vandalism at an Episcopal church in Indiana – an incident that generated national headlines in November as a possible case of politically motivated hate speech, but one that prosecutors now say was instead the act of someone hoping to mobilize others disappointed with the election results. Nathan Stang, 26, faces a misdemeanor count of institutional criminal mischief for the damage to St. David’s Episcopal Church, the congregation in Bean Blossom, Indiana, where he serves as organist. He was arrested May 3, three days after Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry came to St. David’s to preside at the Sunday Eucharist and preach. The congregation feels “like we had the rug pulled out from underneath us,” the Rev. Kelsey Hutto, priest-in-charge at St. David’s, told Episcopal News Service in a May 3 interview. Earlier in the day, Hutto released a statement on the church’s website saying, “Nathan is a member of our St. David’s family and naturally there is a certain amount of betrayal with this act.” “Over the coming weeks and days we will process our emotions regarding this hurtful act. I ask that we remember what we have stood for over the past few months – love and forgiveness,” she said. St. David’s was one of at least two Episcopal congregations that were targeted with graffiti on the weekend after Donald Trump was elected president. The graffiti at St. David’s included the words “Heil Trump” as well as a gay slur and a swastika.

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