DANVERS, MASS. (WHDH) - Police have launched an investigation after a church in Danvers was targeted by vandals on Wednesday night, officials said.

Danvers police responded to a possible hate crime at the Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church on Locust Street after church administrator Nancy Paskowski noticed that the church’s Black Lives Matter sign was missing and that a piece of rope fashioned into what appeared to be a noose was hung on the church’s main sign around 8 p.m.

“We do not know who did this or why, but the message a symbol like this is intended to send is one of fear and intimidation,” said Danvers town officials in an official statement released Thursday. “We reject such acts of cowardice and want to be clear that this type of hateful and discriminatory behavior has no place in Danvers or any community.”

The small church is tucked off the road in the woods and bills itself as a “liberal welcoming community.” Those who live nearby and worship here want to know who left the divisive, hateful symbol.

“To hear of an incident like this is really disheartening and really sad,” said Tasha Voght.

“It’s sad, it’s sad because we didn’t expect that,” Paskowski said. “We are a little church in the woods.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Danvers Police Department at 978-774-1212.

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