Northeast church display vandalized

By Paul Thompson
Northeast News

On December 9, Norton Heights Community of Christ church (436 Norton) held a vigil of remembrance for each homicide victim in Kansas City during 2017.

Every victim was represented with a white cross, which were placed on the grounds of the church. Leon Berg, a member of the pastoral team at Norton Heights Community of Christ, said that the idea for the display stemmed from a report he’d heard on the radio about the violent crime wave this year in Kansas City. When he looked deeper into the figures, Berg saw that the city’s homicide numbers had been on an upward trajectory since 2014, when just 82 homicides were recorded in Kansas City, Missouri. That number has steadily increased over the intervening years, and the 149 KCMO homicides recorded thus far in 2017 (through Dec. 28) are closing in on the highest total in the city’s history.

With the violence weighing heavily, Berg and the members of Norton Heights Community of Christ church resolved to remember those homicide victims.

“It was just a spate of them, and it was heavy on my heart. The phrase in my mind was, ‘Just remember them,’” Berg remembers. “Everybody has worth, no matter what your life story is.”

But less than two weeks after the vigil, Berg arrived at the church to find more than a dozen of the homemade crosses damaged.

“On Thursday the 21st – on Thursday evenings we have a sharing and caring pray time together – that’s when I noticed it,” Berg said. “It could have happened any time between Tuesday (the 19th) and Thursday.”

Berg noted that while the church does have security cameras, they weren’t in a position to identify the perpetrators. The church couldn’t ascertain a motive, either; Berg said that the church has received positive responses from the families of victims.

“We’ve had about three, maybe four requests from families of the victims – if they might have the cross,” Berg said.

If the vandals are eventually identified, Berg would welcome a conversation with those responsible.

“I would say, ‘Can we sit down and talk to each other? Can I ask you about why you did what you did?’” Berg said. “Was it just something for fun, to expend some energy? Was it something you had against the idea of names on the crosses?”

Meanwhile, Berg noted that there have been about a dozen more homicides since the December 9 vigil. He said the church intends to make additional crosses for every victim through the end of the year, while also replacing those that were damaged in the act of vandalism. Moving forward, Berg says that Norton Heights Community of Christ will likely continue its new tradition of remembrance.

“We do intend to make this an annual vigil event,” Berg said.

Comments are closed.

  • City Hall Round-up: Week of 1/15-1/19

    12 hours ago
    by

    Paul Thompson Northeast News If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The Kansas City, Missouri City Council’s second […]


    Paseo Gateway Project continues as Chouteau Courts vacated

    12 hours ago
    by

    Paul Thompson Northeast News The final tenants at the Chouteau Courts housing project officially moved out of the development on […]


    Brothers face murder charges after dumping body in Cliff Drive last August

    12 hours ago
    by

    Paul Thompson Northeast News On August 16, 2017, the body of Michael Anthony High-Frump was dumped near Cliff Drive in […]


    Kansas City Museum seeking artists for work at Corinthian Hall

    19 hours ago
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News The Kansas City Museum has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) seeking three artists interested […]


    Northeast Newscast Episode 40 – on the state of the Missouri Legislature with District 19 State Rep Ingrid Burnett

    January 19th, 2018
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News On this week’s edition of the Northeast Newscast, we sit down with District 19 State […]


  • Not Horsing Around – KCPD wants your horse

    January 19th, 2018
    by

    By Michael Bushnell Northeast News The Kansas City Mounted Patrol Unit is looking for recruits, and they’re not horsing around. […]


    SVN closed Wednesday due to burst pipe

    January 17th, 2018
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News Scuola Vita Nuova (SVN) lost power at around midnight on Tuesday, January 16, causing the […]


    Local church foots coffee bill at Eleos on Jan. 17

    January 17th, 2018
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News LifeConnection Northeast church has pledged to pay for every cup of drip coffee ordered at […]


    East Patrol Captain acknowledged by Chiefs for role in saving life

    January 17th, 2018
    by

    Paul Thompson Northeast News After the Kansas City Chiefs disposed of the Oakland Raiders 26-15 on December 10 at Arrowhead […]


    A Day of Service at Northeast High School

    January 17th, 2018
    by

    Katrina E. Williams Northeast News   On the morning of January 15, a group of volunteers including members of AmeriCorps, […]


  • What’s Happening

    Circus grounds and beer

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News The new $750,000 M.K. Goetz Brewery wasn’t built in Kansas City until 1936, but its long, […]

    retorts illustrated by bryan stalder

    CID: East Avenue Shopping Center

  • Local Weather