Community members gathered Sunday to remove graffiti from the stone wall outside a historic church in Staten Island, New York.
The vandalism near the Church of St. Andrew in Richmond Town was first observed by residents who passed by on Snake Hill Road, according to silive.com.
However, the New York Police Department (NYPD) cordoned off part of the road to allow borough residents and the “Clean Team” of City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid Island) to remove the spraypaint.
“St. Andrew’s is not only a beautiful landmark church, but an important part of the history of this borough and integral part of the fabric of our religious community,” Matteo said in a statement.
“If we allow vandals to desecrate St. Andrew’s, then no building would be safe,” he continued.
Construction of St. Andrew’s first building began in 1708, while its first services were held at the French church about a mile south of its present location, the church’s website read.
The site continued:
During the Revolutionary War, the parish played a prominent role in support of the Loyalist Cause. The British troops under the command of Lord Howe camped on the Church’s property, and the church itself served as a hospital. Two skirmishes were fought in the churchyard when Patriot militias from New Jersey raided Richmondtown and in one instance fired upon the British troops housed within the church, destroying all of the windows.
In a tweet Sunday, Matteo praised everyone who helped clean up the stone wall:
Timely removal of graffiti. Job well done by our Clean Team.
“On Sunday, it was removed by the “Clean Team” of City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo (R-Mid Island). The NYPD cordoned off a section of the road as a safety precaution for workers.”https://t.co/PBj08uODwH
— Steven Matteo (@StevenMatteo) July 26, 2020
“For over 300 years, The Church of St. Andrew has proclaimed the Gospel by Word and Sacrament,” the church’s website noted.
“We look forward to continuing in our mission to preach the Good News and to minister to the needs of Richmondtown and the greater Staten Island community,” the site concluded.