CAMBY, Ind. — Lydia Watson and her family were just at the Neighborhood Bible Church on Wednesday for Bible study.
“Last night, we were here for an hour and all we did was pray,” Watson said.
Watson, who leads the church alongside her husband, said all was fine when they left the church on Camby Road that night. However, a phone call Thursday morning would bring them right back.
“Around 9 o’clock, my husband received a call that police were on site and someone had vandalized the property,” she said.
When the Watsons arrived, they found the windows and doorways of their church shattered and smashed, along with rocks inside on the floor.
A few steps away, in the back parking lot, sat the church’s bus. The bus, which came as a donation, housed the church’s mobile food pantry, which was expected to launch in a few months.
“We are taking on a project called the Neighborhood Go Grocery,” said Watson. “We had been working on that bus to travel in food deserts and food swamps to increase food access in the city.”
However, plans for the project are temporarily on pause as the overnight vandalism also reached the bus, causing significant damage to the windshield and windows.
“They damaged the side windows, the doors damaged, it’s a lot of damage and it really sets us back, a whole lot,” she said. “We actually had just had a tour of our bus to grantors, who want us to submit a proposal. I’m going to be kind of terrified to let them know that it’s been vandalized, so there’s other costs that we did not foresee.”
Though her family has lived in the Camby area for six years, Watson said they recently opened the church in January. To experience such damage, she said, feels like an assault on the community and their overall mission, especially being among the few Black-led churches in the area.
“There’s been a spirit of hatred, and violence and crime against all that is good, and so I do believe that that’s where this act spurred from,” she said. “This was an act against community. It was violence against love, and it was violence against family.”
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident, but did not have any further information to share with CBS4.
While police work to find out who is behind the vandalism, neighbors are hoping to help, including one who showed overnight surveillance video from his Ring camera to CBS4.
The video, which is a little more than one minute long, shows two people looking through his trailer, which sits across from the church’s back parking lot. By the video’s end, the same two people are seen holding an object directly in front of the church’s bus.
As police investigate, the Watsons are trying their best to focus on moving forward. While the windows to the church are boarded up, they want people to know their spirits are far from down.
“We have every bit of means to come back here Sunday and be doing what we’ve been doing since January,” she said. “We’re going to pray, we’re going to sing, we’re going to smile, we’re going to embrace each other.”
The church is accepting donations to help with repairs and recovery efforts.