A local church was the recipient of a generous Christmas gift this year.
Two officers from the 45th Precinct helped secure a sign for the First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck after parishioners woke up on December 19 to find that the church’s temporary sign had been tagged with graffiti overnight.
“I was just so upset by it,” said parish administrator Deborah Burke about finding the graffiti during the holiday season.
Burke reported the incident to 311, after which two officers from the 45th Precinct arrived to take the report.
But about half an hour after they left, they came back to the church to ask where the canvas sign and design had come from.
During their second visit, they met with children from the pre-K program and handed out toy badges.
“You had to see the look on children’s faces, they were so excited,” said Burke.
After the visit, the officers told the church that it would have a new sign by the end of the week from Master Graphics, but wouldn’t tell Burke how much it had cost.
“They said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s taken care of,” said Burke.
While the officers would not give any more details about how they secured the sign, Burke said she suspects they paid for the banner themselves.
The church has a great relationship with the precinct, said Pastor Ulf Lenow. Officers had assisted the parish when they had a chronic graffiti problem several years ago.
“The 45th Precinct has always been very helpful to us,” said Lenow.
The idea that someone would deface church property, which should be a safe haven, makes him sad.
“The church and it’s surroundings should look beautiful,” he said.
The church is working on designing a new, permanent sign, he said, and they are focusing on materials that are easy to clean.
In the meantime, they appreciate having a unblemished sign to welcome the community with.
“We are very thankful,” said Lenow.
The Christmas services were wonderful this year, said Lenow, with a candlelight Mass and special music.
Burke and Lenow both said they were very grateful for the officers’ gift on that occasion.
“The officers thought the church shouldn’t have graffiti on our big day,” said Burke.