St. Andrew’s Rector Reconsecrates Desecrated Items Following Church Vandalism
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Ayer held a Service of Reconsecration on Sunday, March 17, making desecrated items sacred again. On the previous Wednesday, March 13, church staff entered the sanctuary to find it vandalized. Sacred items were taken apart and broken, candles were left burning, and holy oil was spilled throughout the building. Members of the community, including the Altar Guild and parishioners from St. Andrew’s as well as people from other churches, came together on Saturday to clean, repair, and polish the entire sanctuary in preparation for the special service the following day.
The Reverend Joyce Scherer-Hoock, rector of St. Andrew’s, began the service by blessing water. She processed through the church, stopping to bless each desecrated item, while the congregation read Psalm 27, a psalm that expresses trust and confidence in God and asks to always be in his presence. The rector referenced Psalm 27 again in her sermon in which she spoke not only of St. Andrew’s personal experience with violence but also violence experienced by other faith communities throughout the world, especially the recent attack on the New Zealand mosque.
St. Andrew’s Church was organized in October 1889 by Rev. Endicott Peabody, as an Episcopal mission. The stone church was completed in December 1892. Endicott Peabody was largely responsible for the existence and continuance of the church. On January 27, 1898, St. Andrew’s Mission, Ayer, was duly and legally organized as St. Andrew’s Parish in Ayer and Groton.