• Last modified 769 days ago (May 18, 2017)


Collection stolen; pastor unfazed

News editor

A couple of months ago on a Tuesday, or perhaps a Wednesday, Marion Presbyterian pastor Jeremiah Lange discovered something was missing: that past Sunday’s offering.

“It had been secured in a place where we normally put it,” Lange said. “Somebody must have found it and decided it was an opportunity for them. It was labeled and somebody could see what it was.”

A search ensued, but the missing collection was nowhere to be found.

“Somebody said, ‘Why don’t you check in the trash?’” Lange said. “The trash got picked up Monday. It could be in a landfill.”

So how much money was missing?

“We honestly have no idea,” Lange said. “Whatever it was, it was mostly checks. We don’t bring in much cash on a week-to-week basis, so whoever took it didn’t walk away with much at all.”

Lange sent an email to church members describing what had happened. He wasn’t surprised at the reaction.

“The church responded, I think, in a very loving and gracious way,” he said. “There were no pitchforks and torches. We went through the proper channels, and it’s been looked into, and the church has moved forward.”

Procedures for handling collections have changed so that “nothing’s taken for granted anymore,” Lange said.

He’s decided not to use the incident as a sermon topic.

“I can’t say that it’s been my experience, but I learned from someone else that whenever you try to aim a sermon at someone, they never show up,” Lange said. “It doesn’t do you any good to use the pulpit as a bully pulpit or a tool for manipulation, because when you start doing that people don’t trust you.”

In the history of the church, thefts appear rare, Lange said. He heard from one longtime member who recalled a possible theft decades ago, but nothing else.

“You’ve got to just trust that God’s going to sort it all out, and we can’t be the ones trying to invoke wrath,” Lange said. “One of the constant blessings for me is that when money things come up, somebody says, ‘It’s just money; it’ll work out.’ It’s a good voice to have.”

Last modified May 18, 2017