By Tori Mason

THORNTON, Colo. (CBS4) — Three teenagers vandalized Destiny Outreach Ministries in Thornton a week before Easter. There wasn’t a collection plate big enough to pay for that damage.

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“Anything glass was broken. Our piano was flipped over on its side. They took dishes and used them as frisbees to throw into the wall,” said Pastor Walter Coventry.

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The projector screen was slashed, walls punched and nearly every instrument destroyed. The damage totaled more than $90,000. The one thing vandals didn’t break was their faith.

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“Lord, we are cognizant of your presence in our lives. This year more than any other time,” prayed co-pastor Renee Coventry.

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Nine months later, all is calm and all is bright, thanks to a community that loves thy neighbor.

“You take a step of faith and say ‘This doesn’t define our community’ and then the community really does show up,” said Renee.

Friends cleaned, strangers donated and businesses offered repairs for free. It took almost five months for the church to look like its old self.

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“I expected to do most of the work myself quite honestly. We’ve gotten stronger as a result of the vandalism,” said Walter.

He and his wife, Renee, found the strength to offer those teens something most couldn’t — forgiveness.

Walter Coventry (credit: CBS)

“No matter how hurt or how angry, we choose to love them. We told them they are welcome in this church any time they would like to come,” said Renee.

Two of the teenagers involved took plea deals and received probation. The third teen went to trial and was found guilty. All three will have to pay restitution.

Tori Mason is an award-winning reporter for CBS4 This Morning. Follow her on Twitter @ToriMasonTV.

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