Pentagram, 666 markings desecrate southeastern York County church

Guinston-Presbyterian-new_500
The Guinston Presbyterian Church, victimized by vandals this week, is one of York County’s oldest. It was built in 1773.

Police are still looking for information on who have vandalized the historic Guinston Presbyterian Church.
Here’s how the York Daily Record/Sunday News story about the destructive acts began:

Inside the stone Guinston Presbyterian Church, which dates to 1774, vandals took a can of white paint and splashed it over the wooden floors, seats and a cabinet.
They also took black and blue spray paint to the pulpit, windows and walls, and a painting of Jesus. They wrote “666” across the painting they removed from the wall, and they drew a pentagram on the floor.
But the vandals didn’t stop there. They spray painted the outside of the old church, a newer house of worship that some members helped to build, as well as a shed and a sign. Messages included “F– God” and “Soul Kingz.”
“I pray for them, and I pray for the people they hurt,” the Rev. Daniel Moore said. “It’s the people behind the building that they hurt.”

The church, in bucolic southeastern York County is distinct from most other Presbyterian churches in the county.
It was founded by immigrants coming here directly from Scotland, bypassing the Northern Ireland stint that prompted the name Scots-Irish for many coming to the United States.
Their churches eventually became known as the United Presbyterian Church in contrast to the larger Scotch-Irish founded Presbyterian Church. This explains why today two Presbyterian churches might be located in such close proximity – in Cross Roads, for example – although they might now be part of the same denomination.
Ah, the split Ps, as Presbyterians are called.
Anyway, this entry from “Never to be Forgotten” explains some of the early York County immigration patterns after 1731:

The Scotch-Irish, displaced people from Scotland who have lived in northern Ireland for several generations, move into the county. They settle primarily in the county’s hilly, southeastern section.
The Scotch-Irish build farms in future Chanceford, Fawn, Peach Bottom, Hopewell and Windsor townships. Other Scotch-Irish travel another well-worn path that crosses the Susquehanna at future Harrisburg and settle in the future Dillsburg area, Cumberland County and points south and west.
The Scotch-Irish often arrive at the port of New Castle, Del., instead of Germantown.
Some scholars contrast the Scotch-Irish and German settlers. Germans are known to be orderly, industrious, carefully frugal, Lutheran or Reformed, not prone to tangle with American Indians and disinterested in politics except perhaps on the local level.
The Presbyterian Scotch-Irish are regarded as quick-tempered, impetuous, given to drinking, actively interested in politics and ready to take on the Indians. Some say that no Scotch-Irish family feels comfortable until it has moved at least twice. So, some county Scotch-Irish move farther south and west. Still, many stay, and their continued presence is evident today in the large number of Presbyterian churches in the county’s southeast.
Of course, not all Germans stay put in the county. Some Germans continue a southern and western migration, too. The availability of land is a major force driving settlers of all nationalities to move from the county.

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.

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