A church was vandalized with Molotov cocktails Friday ahead of the church hosting a drag brunch and story hour, WJW reported.
“Despite the minimal damage, the church is taking extraordinary security precautions ahead of the planned protest scheduled for April 1 and services will resume as scheduled,” a person representing Ohio’s Community Church of Chesterland said in a statement acquired by WJW.
Controversy over the planned show erupted after a Chardon, Ohio restaurant called Element 41 partnered with the church to hold the drag brunch, WKYC reported.
“They’re calling us pedophiles and it’s getting really crazy where I have to turn my phone off at night,” Element 41 owner Paul Mendolera previously told the outlet.
“It’s taking it to the next level where we’re having people saying that they’re coming to protest, hundred people strong with concealed carry permits, and they want to save the children.”
Proud Boys circulated notices encouraging people to protest the event, Cleveland.com reported Friday.
Geauga County Sheriff Scott Hildenbrand told the outlet that they would “need a lot of personnel” to cover the event, since it is in two different locations. He added that local law enforcement agencies have been working on security plans.
According to the church’s calendar, the Drag Brunch will still be held April 1 at Element 41 in Chardon, Ohio starting at 10 a.m. The Drag Story Hour event, also on April 1, will be held at 4 p.m. at the church.
The church posted an announcement on its Facebook page Sunday afternoon. The re-posted message from Rev. Jess Peacock, the church’s minister, included photographs of the damage.
The photos show what appears to be a charred metal panel with signage for the church’s preschool, a charred sign in 3 languages that appears to be vinyl affixed to plywood, and a destroyed roadside sign with only the support pillars remaining along with small bits of the sign itself.
Peacock, who noted that he removed a post about the damage from Saturday, called the action a “hate crime.”
He noted that their sign was destroyed, outdoor light fixtures were broken, and Molotov cocktails were thrown at the church, which houses a preschool.
Peacock said the church was fortunate that the vandalism occurred while it was raining, “which probably prevented the fire from catching.”
“Small mercies,” Peacock added.
TheBlaze’s requests for comment from the Geauga County Sheriff’s Office and Chester Township Police Department were not returned in time for publication.
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