Historic church vandalized in Claiborne County

Published 3:12 pm Friday, February 3, 2023

The Claiborne County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man this week for causing significant damage to the First Presbyterian Church in Port Gibson.

Sheriff Edward Goods said that he was contacted by a key holder of the church on Tuesday. Upon arrival, he saw the damage that had been done to the church.

Within hours of investigating, a suspect, Arthur Washington Jr., was interviewed and arrested. Washington is charged with destroying public property, a church building or certain cemetery items.

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The pastor of the church, the Rev. Michael Herrin, said the damage was extensive and will take some time to repair.

“The main damage was one window with two sashes of stained glass, and so we’re going to have to get bids on getting that repaired,” Herrin said. “The console for our pipe organ was opened up and some damage was done inside the console. Then that will take, we think, about six weeks to repair.”

The stained glass window that was damaged is estimated to be more than 100 years old.

“All the pews were turned over. All the furniture, everything was turned over,” Herrin said. “The thermostats were knocked off the walls, so we’re having to get those replaced before we can worship in the room.”

Herrin also asked for prayers for both the church’s congregation and for Washington.

Washington was denied bail at his initial appearance in court on Thursday.