Community rallies after satanic symbols sprayed on North Charleston church

This vandalism at Grace Alliance Church in North Charleston was discovered Friday.

If vandals who spray-painted satanic symbols on a North Charleston church last week intended to demoralize the congregation, they only succeeded in affirming the church’s ties with its neighbors.

The walls of Grace Alliance Church on Northside Drive were defaced Thursday night with graffiti reading “Hail Satan,” “Hail Satin,” a pentagram, swastikas, an upside-down cross, profanities and “666,” a reference to the biblical Antichrist.

While members were out scrubbing the walls Friday, about a half-dozen nearby residents stopped to help.

“It kind of pulled the community together,” said Michael Laws, a church member who lives in Summerville. “Whoever did this, I’m sure they wanted to harm the church, but it actually helped.”

The Christian & Missionary Alliance church was built at the end of Northside Drive about 30 years ago, with the understanding that the road would be extended to connect Ashley Phosphate Road and U.S. Highway 78. The road project was delayed for years but is finally underway and should be completed by the end of the summer.

Meanwhile, a couple hundred houses have been built in Colony North near the church in the past few years, and the new road is expected to speed up the growth spurt.

“The church has been reaching out to the community, and we are really having an impact,” Laws said. “There are people who are trying to dishearten us.”

Members have no idea who did it but are concerned that somebody needs help, Laws said.

“We’re not looking for vengeance, but we are very concerned,” he said. “Especially if it is a young person who did this, they need to realize how serious this is.”

A pair of vinyl gloves and a can of spray paint were found at the crime scene, according to the incident report from North Charleston police. Officers took them back to the lab to check for evidence.

The church’s longtime pastor, the Rev. C.G. Ingram, retired last month. The Rev. Gabriel Galdo is interim pastor and he said the church does not have any hard feelings toward those who spray-painted its walls.

“Our passion is to reach out to those who did this with love and light,” he said. “What happened is an opportunity for us to serve those in need.”

Melissa Boughton contributed to this report. Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.