Most people would welcome a bouquet of roses on their doorstep -- but not the leaders of Lockport Christian Church.
Roses and other items you might expect to see at a wedding have mysteriously been laid outside the church three times, Senior Pastor Kevin Wing told The Buffalo News.
Wing reported the latest appearance of flowers to Niagara County sheriff's deputies last weekend after discovering a dozen roses left at the church March 20.
He also called deputies in February when roses, chocolates, cake, a ring bearer's pillow and goblet half-filled with wine were left outside the church overnight. A third incident took place about three years ago.
Wing told the 50 members of his congregation about that incident, too.
That's when church members became concerned because Wing's son, Michael, found that the dates when items were left corresponded with dates of pagan or satanic rituals.
"The incidents fell on the new moon, and satanic rituals recognize certain calendar dates," Pastor Wing said last week. "We did seek some counseling and have felt there is a possibility that there is a pagan who is performing ceremonies at the church. . . .
"We wanted our congregation to know that this was a police matter. Any time we are targeted, this would be considered harassment."
A local pagan, who declined to let her name be used, said the incidents were unlikely to have been related to pagan or satanic rituals because all the items left were based in Christianity.
"The pagan religion is not anti-Christian, but teaches tolerance. It is the study of all religions," she said. The woman speculated that the Lockport Christian Church may have been targeted in such a way because of their proselytizing in the area.
"Maybe this is about religious tolerance," she said. "It takes guts to do what [the members of the Lockport Christian Church] believe, but it takes guts for me to do what I believe. . . .
"Whoever is doing this [harassment] is wrong. Can't we all just get along?"
Wing said members of the church, along the Locust Street Extension, are frightened about the incidents.
"I don't care if it's a Wiccan or two kids with a Ouija board," the pastor said. "It's got to stop."