DEVELOPING: Explosive device caused damage at St. Stephens Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas says a package detonated outside the door of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Beaumont between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, damaging windows and part of the church office.

The AFT and Beaumont Police and Fire are investigating.

The church is near the an Episcopal school. No one was at the church or school at the time and no one was hurt.

The school alerted parents to pick up their children.

Last month, what police told KFDM was a box with an explosive target used in hunting was placed outside the Starbucks on Dowlen Road in Beaumont. No one was hurt and investigators haven't found the person who placed it there.

From Episcopal Diocese:

(May 10, 2018) Sometime between the end of worship Wednesday evening and the beginning of school this morning, a package detonated outside the office door of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Beaumont. No one was injured in the blast, which “broke out windows, put holes in the office walls and blew apart the bushes lining the entrance,” said the Rev. Steven Balke, rector of St. Stephens.

Balke immediately called police and soon had the office and school evacuated. “The FBI is here and checking the property,” Balke said. An explosive device was located at an area Starbucks on April 27 so the event at St. Stephen’s is not an isolated incident. “Everyone is taking this very seriously, especially since there is a school involved,” he added.

Balke said he is very grateful the explosion happened before he arrived to work. Had he or another staff member picked up a box left at the front door, they could have been severely injured or killed if damage to the building is any indication.

“We are very blessed that no one was injured,” he said, “We appreciate everyone’s prayers at this time. It has made everyone very nervous.”

The Episcopal Diocese of Texas is making sure pastoral care needs of the congregation and school are met. The Rt. Rev. Bishop Monterroso, bishop assistant, Carol Barnwell, director of communications and the Rev. Canon for Mission Amplification, Joann Saylors will be with them in Beaumont. Bishops Suffragan Jeff W. Fisher and Dena Harrison will arrive there tomorrow.

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