Pie Thrower in Colorado

The Grace Episcopal Church controversy took a bizarre turn Sunday when a man barged into the 9 a.m. service, hurled a cream pie at the Rev. Don Armstrong and dashed out without saying a word.

More: According to a report by Jennifer Wilson in the Colorado Springs Gazette:

The pie thrower didn’t get far. Several parishioners chased him for several blocks, apprehended him near Palmer High School, then hauled him back to the church for Colorado Springs police.

Marcus Hyde, 18, faces misdemeanor charges of harassment, trespassing, criminal mischief and disrupting a lawful assembly, police Sgt. Vince Niski said. Hyde was cited and released at the scene.

Armstrong was delivering a sermon titled “Of Christian Love and Charity” when Hyde burst through the side door closest to the pulpit, said church member Tim Chambers, who wrote about the incident on his blog at tbc.livejournal.com.

Armstrong responded to a request for an interview by writing an e-mail to The Gazette. In it, he said he avoided a face full of dessert by ducking behind the pulpit. He said the missile smelled like banana cream.

“He aimed right at me and would have hit me squarely, but I ducked into the pulpit and it went right over me and onto the floor,” Armstrong wrote. “This poor guy needs to find a more effective (way) to express himself without all the messy resulting complications.”

Reached by phone Sunday night, Hyde declined to comment, saying he had to speak with an attorney first. Police said he told them he was passing judgment on Armstrong on behalf of church parishioners.

A blog post written by a person who was there and a supporter of Fr. Armstrong called the incident “a hate crime.” The Gazette spoke to a friend of Hyde’s who said “It’s a protest move, and it’s hilarious.” Both the Gazette and the Rocky Mountain News said that Hyde “was passing judgment on Armstrong for his fellow parishioners, according to a police report.”

Somewhere between hilarious and a hate crime is the fact of the emotionality of the situation and one hopes that the acting out remains both civil and safe.

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