We are currently more than four weeks into our 2014 Lenten Project campaign, If We Build It, They Will Come, and your generosity never ceases to amaze me. At services this weekend, you will hear about the 71 new churches (so far) that will be built in Ghana thanks to your cheerful donations… Praise God!
Amidst the joy of this season of giving, we have had an unfortunate incident occur that led us to believe someone was stealing money from one of the Lenten Project donation buckets during the 11:00 am service at Hope West Des Moines on the weekends of March 9 & 16. We want you to know that immediate action was taken and through surveillance video, we were able to identify the individual responsible for taking the missing donations.
We have good reason to believe the amount stolen was just under $330 in cash. At this time, we have no reason to believe any checks were taken, but to add another layer of precaution, if you have given to the campaign by check, please review your giving statement to confirm the amount written is reflected on that statement.
It is important we join together as a church family and surround this person and their family in prayer. They are going through an extremely difficult time, and it is our responsibility to be the church for them, regardless of the circumstance. After all, this is what Jesus calls us to do…
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:36-38
And, while it is important to pray for this individual, we also realize the importance, and duty, we have to protect the offerings of those who enter our doors, and to ensure they are being used for the intent and purpose for which they were given.
We have a number of procedures in place to keep your donations safe, including emptying the bucks three times per service (before/after the offering and following the service) to lower our risk and exposure. We are currently working on designing a more secure way of collecting special offerings to reduce the temptation, and better secure your gifts.
It is also important to point out that this was a special offering – we have systems in place to secure regular offerings (including a police presence in the church to help protect the integrity of your offerings and your safety).
With all of this in mind, please do not lose sight of the wonderful things happening during this campaign. Due to your generosity, more than $248,500 has been raised, building 71 new churches and leading thousands of people to a new life with Christ!
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please contact the church office at 222-1520.
And remember, it’s good to be the church!
Senior Operating Officer
Lutheran Church of Hope