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.

  • Following Kander’s announcement, more announcements follow

    October 11th, 2018
    by

    Abby Cambiano Northeast News   Fourth District Councilwoman Jolie Justus has re-entered the mayoral race to succeed Sly James in […]


    Annual historic homes tour to shine a light on Independence Plaza

    October 10th, 2018
    by

    Reece Bentzinger Editorial Assistant Northeast News Step through the doors of 2821 Independence Avenue, and you’ll be swept into a […]


    Power in a Paintbrush: A profile on Hector Casanova

    October 9th, 2018
    by

      Reese Bentzinger Editorial Assistant Northeast News For many, the word “power” brings to mind a political office or being […]


    Northeast HS Homecoming set for this weekend

    October 5th, 2018
    by

    By Reese Bentzinger Northeast News Editorial Assistant At Northeast High School’s homecoming, current students won’t be the only ones feeling […]


    Howl-oween Festivities at the Zoo

    October 5th, 2018
    by

    By Reese Bentzinger Northeast News Editorial Assistant Normally, the only frights the zoo offers is a scarily good time. But […]


  • Community provides feedback about potential North-East Library renovations

    October 4th, 2018
    by

    By Paul Thompson Northeast News Facilitators at the Wednesday, October 3 North-East Public Library visioning session asked attendees to set […]


    KCMO liquor permit decision delayed

    October 3rd, 2018
    by

    By Johanna Pounds Northeast News Editorial Assistant The Kansas City, Missouri Neighborhoods and Public Safety committee entered its third week […]


    All-Girls Prep School clears another hurdle, aiming for 2019 opening

    October 3rd, 2018
    by

    Reese Bentzinger Editorial Assistant Northeast News Parents looking for a safe, open-minded environment in the Historic Northeast where their daughters […]


    KCMO Council still grappling with Airport’s Community Benefits Agreement

    October 3rd, 2018
    by

    Paul Thompson Northeast News Renowned aviation lawyer Robert Cohn sat before the Kansas City, Missouri City Council last week and […]


    NEAT sets October 4 Affordable Housing Forum

    October 3rd, 2018
    by

    Reese Bentzinger Editorial Assistant Northeast News Unsolved questions about gentrification linger from last January’s State of the Northeast Forum hosted […]


  • What’s Happening

    Remembering KCFD Firefighters on the anniversary of their deaths

    In an almost fitting observance on the 3 year anniversary of the fatal fire at 2600 Independence Blvd. that took […]

    Reflecting on my time at the Northeast News

    Paul Thompson Northeast News A decade covering news in Kansas City will leave a wealth of memories. Many of you […]

    Kenneth N. Winn

    May 2, 1919- October 3, 2018 Kenneth N. Winn, 99, was in born in Breasher, MO. He moved to St. […]

  • Local Weather