WELLSTON, Okla. (KFOR) – After a small church of about a dozen members was struck with vandalism several times in the last few months, they weren’t sure how they were going to afford repairs.
KFOR first aired the story in February where the Cornerstone Baptist Church was experiencing vandalism for the third time since November 2022.
A Cornerstone Baptist Church member, William Gist told KFOR they discovered someone had broken in the south side doors.
As the following day rolled around, the church found out whoever did this came back and ripped the doors clean off the remaining hinges.
Gist said nothing was stolen from the church, which struck him as odd.
Just before News 4 aired the story, the church was then hit again.
As a temporary fix, the church has bolted the doors into the door frame.
Gist said he wasn’t sure if the cost of repairs was in their budget.
Those doors were still bolted in place Friday afternoon when News 4 stopped by.
“Right now, we’re kind of low on the budget, so it’s going to be kind of hard to to get anything right now,” explained Gist on Feb. 15.
A month and a half later, there’s a gleaming light at the end of the tunnel for Cornerstone Baptist Church.
Cornerstone Baptist Church Pastor, Russell Houser said four days after the story aired, donations began rolling in.
“I went out to the mailbox, brought the mail in, set it down. Our treasurer came into my office about that time. I said, ‘What is all this stuff?’ She said, ‘It looks like donations. ‘Just that first Sunday, I think we ended up [with] like $1,100,” said Houser.
Houser said those donations came in from people all over the state, people they had never met.
Most of the donations didn’t have a note attached to it, but Houser recalls one where a 9-year-old girl started collecting money from her family to help.
“Mom wrote a letter. There was 60 bucks in it. [Her] nine year old daughter heard this, heard the story and wanted to contribute her birthday money and long story short, coaxed her mom into donating, and coaxed her older brother into donating. They gave us $60. $20 each,” said Houser.
Someone from Oklahoma City also drove all the way to their church to hand deliver cash.
That person told Houser he saw their story and wanted to help, according to Houser.
Houser even received a phone call from a neighboring church who offered their time and labor to help replace the doors.
“It’s kind of humbling, you know, being on the receiving side of this,” explained Houser. “Thank you for thinking of us and for wanting to help out.”
Houser told KFOR he is now working with the neighboring church to hopefully set up a time to replace the doors within the next week.
Houser said the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office did find the vandal who happened to be a minor.
The minor allegedly admitted to committing the crime because he was “bored,” according to Houser.
News 4 reached out to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office for more information, but have not heard back.