A staff member of the Center for Spiritual Living-Bellingham church on Yew Street Road made an unsettling discovery Wednesday, Aug. 25 - someone had vandalized it with swastikas, pentagrams and the numbers 666.
In addition, a four-foot wooden angel, carved and donated to the church as a gift to a former minister, had been doused in gasoline and lit on fire.
The Rev. Marla Mason, the church's senior minister, said the church in the 2200 block of Yew Street Road may have been the victim of a hate crime.
"It's a worthy question," she said. "Certainly the fire adds an element that feels more aggressive and dangerous to me."
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She said 24 volunteers helped scrub and wash the paint from the building's walls and concrete walkways Thursday night. The angel carving, however, could not be salvaged.
"We had a little funeral for our angel and put her to rest," Mason said.
Mason said she reported the damage to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office and wants to know who's responsible.
"It would tell me a lot to know a little bit more about the perpetrator," she said.
Anyone with information about the incident should call the Sheriff's Office tip line at 360-715-7459.