THREE FORKS - A church in Three Forks was vandalized over the weekend, and in response, leaders decided they wanted to show what their church is all about -- with forgiveness and colored chalk.
Pastor Linda Fritz said she and the congregation at Three Forks United Methodist Church were hurt and saddened when they discovered someone had spray-painted vulgar, anti-religious comments on the church's exterior last Saturday night.
Despite their initial feelings, Fritz said in a post on the church's Facebook page , "We're choosing to focus on what our kids did. We're choosing to look at what is good in the world and we are choosing to pray for people [who] want to hurt others for no reason."
As for what the kids did, after Fritz and members of the congregation scrubbed away the spray paint on Sunday, they invited the church youth to draw on the steps and sidewalk with colored chalk.
"We didn't tell them what to do," Fritz told MTN News. "We said, would you like to go decorate the sidewalk?"
Fritz said although the congregation acted fast to remove the vandalism, the kids knew something had happened.
The youth took it upon themselves to draw colorful images of flowers and rainbows, along with quotes from scripture and Christian images.
Fritz said the church didn't want to fan the flames and respond with any message as hurtful as the ones spray-painted on its walls.
"Our response has been forgiveness," she said. "I feel there are some people who are so hurt, damaged, and they're scared. And they need God. Why would we do something back to make them more hurt, more scared?"
Fritz added the first prayer request, at the first service after the incident, was for the people who vandalized the building.
Edited, 5:06 p.m. MDT - An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the vandalism occurred Friday night. It happened Saturday night, with clean-up on Sunday.