Members of the Cornwallis Street United Baptist Church in Halifax say they're shocked someone etched a racist comment into a historical plaque at the church.

Monday afternoon, the offensve marks were covered with paint until a permanent solution is decided upon.

David Lindstrom said he was moving equipment out of the Baptist Church on Sunday morning when he happened to glance over at a plaque on the sidewalk.

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The church is hosting a special celebration this weekend that draws a big crowd. (CBC)

Vandals carved a racial slur into the top of a marker that pays tribute to the history of the African United Baptist association and its role in the community.

"It was a little disturbing, to say the least," said Lindstrom.

"I've been here with this church for a lifetime, and we've never had nothing like this."

The church is hosting a special celebration this weekend that draws a big crowd.

Twila Bailey, who works for the church, said she doesn't want to give vandals a platform.

"It's just a terrible thing to look at really… there's a lot of youth that have to pass here. The sooner I can get it removed, the better for everybody," she said.

The plaque is property of Parks Canada.

In the meantime, the police are investigating the crime but they have no witnesses or leads so far.