Residential school protest reportedly behind vandalism at decommissioned Mennonite church in Saskatchewan

Residential school protest reportedly behind vandalism at decommissioned Mennonite church in Saskatchewan
Colleeen Neufeld
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Vandals left broken windows, beer bottles and a note at the old Horse Lake Mennonite Church near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan over the weekend.

The Horse Lake Mennonite Church was decommissioned in a service in 2016 after 74 years and purchased by local farmer Stan Neufeld, who told media that they had lost basically “every window”.

According to LaRongeNow, the vandals left a note inside the church building indicating that the damage was influenced by the reports out of Kamloops that 215 bodies were found near a former residential school

Neufeld—who has lived in the community for 40 years— says he bought the church so it could remain a ‘keepsake’ for the community, and as somewhere quiet for locals and visitors to continue to go.

“We’ve got a register [guest book] there and there’s people who sign it when they come through. There’s [even] a lady in town who goes there and plays piano once and a while,” he said.

Neufeld said they found empty beer cans among the broken glass inside the church Sunday, and a note that had been left under a rock that suggested the vandalism may have been done as a form of protest against the recent residential school discovery in B.C.

READ MORE: Questions remain after discovery of remains of 215 children at Kamloops residential school

RCMP told paNOW that no arrests have been made in connection to the vandalism, but Neufeld “suggested he had little confidence the ‘kids’ responsible for the damage would be brought to book.”

Neufeld's daughter Shelly Ann described the damage and asked for donations to fix the broken windows in a Facebook post:

On the weekend some people decided to break every single window in our special little church in Horse Lake. We are devastated. We would love to continue our open door policy in our little church for people to feel free to come and play piano, sing praises, read the literature and reminisce in this building that has brought so much hope and love to so many over the years. I know I’m not the only person heartbroken over this. If you have any info on who did this please let the RCMP know they have a file open on it.

...If you feel led you are welcome to send a donation to [email protected]. It is set up for auto deposit. Please put “church windows” in the subject line. If you have any questions please feel free to message me. I will keep everyone updated on quotes we get for replacement❤️. If we do not make our target we will donate the money to Far East Broadcasting which is an amazing organization that our church supported for years before we decommissioned the church when grandpa retired.

Two Catholic churches in the South Okanagan region of British Columbia were also destroyed this week in fires being treated by RCMP as suspicious.

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