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Md. church vandalized with message 'Trump Nation, Whites Only'

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A Silver Spring, Md. church with a large immigrant population was vandalized with racist messages, Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. (Courtesy Robert Harvey, Episcopal Church of Our Savior)

SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJLA) - A church in Silver Spring, Maryland was vandalized with racist statements in support of President-elect Donald Trump Saturday night.

According to church officials, the phrase "Trump Nation, Whites Only" was written at the Episcopal Church of Our Savior at 1700 Powder Mill Road on a sign advertising the church's Hispanic service, and on a wall in the church's memorial garden that serves as a cemetery.

"I guess none of us realized where we were living," says Margaret Gordon, a member of the church's vestry.

According to rector Robert Harvey, about 80 percent of the church's members are immigrants; there are people from more than 50 countries in his congregation.

"They're afraid," says Harvey, who added that this was not the first incident of racism in the community this week.

Harvey says on Thursday he confronted two white men who were harassing and yelling racial slurs at a Latina woman at a Value Village across the street from the church.

"We believe we have work to do to help bring peace and reconciliation," says Harvey.

"This is a different reality for us," says Gordon. "So, maybe it's a good place to start where we can pray for people like that."

On Sunday, the Episcopal Diocese of Washington released the following statement:

"Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Last night at Episcopal Church of Our Saviour, Hillandale in Silver Spring, Maryland, both a sign advertising the Spanish-language Mass and the wall of the parish's memorial garden were vandalized with the words, "Trump Nation. Whites Only." I am heartsick, and can only imagine how the people of Our Saviour, one of the most culturally diverse parishes in the diocese, feel.
I will be with Our Saviour's Spanish-language congregation for Mass at 1 pm, and I invite as many of you as are able to join me there. In your services this morning, I hope that you can include prayers for the people of Our Saviour and let your congregations know of the invitation to gather with them in solidarity at 1 pm today.
Faithfully,
Bishop Mariann"