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.

  • Victim identified in Northeast Kansas City shooting

    22 hours ago
    by

    The victim in the January 11th shooting on Hardesty Avenue has been identified as Joseph Mason of Kansas City.


    The City will be removing downed branches after recent storm

    January 16th, 2019
    by

    The City of Kansas City is hauling off downed tree branches after the recent storm!


    Investigation into KCPD Crimes Against Children Section results in discipline, termination of members

    January 16th, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News A three-year internal investigation of the Kansas City Police Department Crimes Against Children Section resulted in […]


    Council presented with ElevateKC survey, Master Tree Plan during first Business Session of 2019

    January 16th, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Kansas City Council members held their first business session of 2019 on Thursday, Jan. 10. The […]


    NY Times Bestselling Author visits with local students

    January 16th, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News New York Times bestselling author W. Bruce Cameron visited students and faculty at Frontier STEM High […]


  • Community members welcome students back to school at Million Fathers March

    January 16th, 2019
    by

    Elizabeth Orosco Northeast News Men and women from the Kansas City community lined the sidewalk of Frontier School of Innovation […]


    Update on Gladstone Boulevard shooting

    January 15th, 2019
    by

    A subject of interest is currently with detectives in connection to the robbery/shooting on Gladstone Boulevard. No identity of subject at this time.


    Sledding in Northeast

    January 15th, 2019
    by

      Northeast News Northeast has numerous great parks for sledding, including Sheffield Park, Indian Mound, and most notably, the Kessler […]


    KCFD rescues woman, dog from structure fire at St. John and Denver

    January 11th, 2019
    by

    Kansas City Fire Department responded to a structure fire at an apartment building this morning on the northeast corner of St. John Avenue and Denver Avenue.


    UPDATE: Gladstone Blvd shooting victim in stable condition, shooter still at large

    January 11th, 2019
    by

    Northeast News The Robbery/Shooting case from the 4200 block of Gladstone Blvd. from Tuesday evening. The victim’s car has been […]


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Northeast News Local Service Index

    COMING SOON! CALL 816.241.0765 TO BE A PART OF THE LOCAL SERVICE INDEX!

    A little slice of Beverly Hills in Independence

      Michael Bushnell Northeast News “Beverly Hills Acre Tracts. Ideal home sites on easy terms. City conveniences, no city or […]

    4th Annual Million Father March