The thugs smashed in the rear kitchen door of Flemington Church to gain entry before destroying rooms and emptying cupboards of items belonging to youth groups.
The damage is so bad, church members will not be able to return to the premises until later today (Wednesday), when they will be able to see the damage for themselves.
Police described the damage as “extensive.”
The cost of the vandalism is not yet known, but police say property has been stolen, including a quantity of cash. The church had been locked on Sunday (October 7) about 3pm following the weekly service. The break-in was discovered at about 12pm next day.
Parish Minister, Reverend Neil Glover, said the whole congregation had been left distraught by the attack.
He said: “We are all very shocked and devastated. It’s absolutely horrendous to think someone would do this.
“The police are currently going through their standard checks and we are just waiting for the all-clear.
“Once we get back in we might be able to get on top of this but the main thing for us is it’s so upsetting that someone would do this to a church.
“We are a part of the community and promote love, understanding and helping one another.”
The attack is the latest to hit Halfway in the past few weeks. Last week, we reported an attack by two knife thugs on an elderly shopkeeper in Hamilton Road. Inquiries are still ongoing into the incident .
We also told how two teenagers were reported to the Children’s Reporter for allegedly snatching tills from two Halfway businesses. One of tills was taken from the shop in Hamilton Road where the shopkeeper was attacked.
Last week money and other items were stolen from Curley’s Butchers at 221 Hamilton Road between 5pm on Tuesday, October 2, and 7.23am the next day.
Rev Glover said: “It is time for the community to come together.”
Many residents and businesses in the Halfway area are believed to be considering leaving the area.
Halfway is a known “hotspot” for crime but the latest spate of incidents has left the community stunned.
People also believe the crime spree has been caused by the same individuals, many of whom are under age 16.
Local residents say the youngsters are “playing the system” to get back on the streets after being arrested.
John Edgar is a member of the congregation at Flemington Hallside and also associated with several community groups in the area, and he said: “People are disgusted around here. The community groups are sick of what’s happening.
“The police are doing their best but those responsible are juveniles. They seem to be using the system to get back on to the streets soon after arrest. The area is going down the tubes. There are decent people ready to move away. ”
Rutherglen Police have made an appeal for witnesses to both crimes.
Inspector Jim Gillespie said they were following lines of inquiry.
He said: “We realise the impact this will have on the community. It is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
People with information should contact Rutherglen Police Station on 0141 532 5200 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.