East Nashville church burglarized after suspects bust open doors

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – For nearly 150 years, the sound of worship has come from inside St James AME Church in East Nashville, but Thursday it was the sound of high powered tools.

The church is replacing their old wooden doors after thieves took advantage of their open door policy overnight Sunday.

“That someone would come to a place like this, you know its troublesome,” Reverend Omar’an Lee said.

Once inside, the criminals broke into the church office where they not only took the tools that the administration uses, but they took the chain that holds the cross Reverend Lee uses in worship.

“They took some of my personal items that I use as vestments for the church, some heirloom items that was given to me by my father and my grandfather.”

While the vestments are sacred items to the church, Reverend Lee says they also took the church computer.

“When it’s electronics and things like that that are helping do the work of the church, of the ministry, that always seems to stifle, it can stifle the growth of the church,” he explained.

He says his church family will recover and he hopes that the suspects can forgive themselves.

“You can’t get away from God and you know God is all knowing, he see’s everything.”

Although someone victimized God’s house, Reverend Lee says he is focusing on the positive reconnecting with the community.

“Even though this happened to us, we can’t change our heart and our mind and our stance on how we are going to serve the community,” said Reverend Lee.

Instead of focusing on the criminal activity, he wants to address the root of the problem.

“We look at unemployment, we look at after school programs, at things that are not available for young people to keep them busy.”

That’s why the church has a community garden and monthly cookouts where anyone can eat for free, but Reverend  Lee is now hoping for even more initiatives.

“It takes St James, it takes the community here in south Inglewood, it takes our city. My job is to continue to love those that come to me or those that present themselves needing love.”

Police are still looking for anyone who may have information on the break-in.

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