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True North Community Church leaders say they forgive burglars who trashed building, stole equipment

Posted at 10:28 AM, May 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-15 10:28:53-04

LANSING, Mich. — Leaders at True North Community Church are heartbroken not only over the thousands of dollars of equipment that was stolen but the sheer destruction left behind after a robbery Thursday night.

Even as the congregation begins taking inventory and healing, worship will go on today, just out in the parking lot.

“You can see there's a lot of the damage that was done was caused not only by the burglary but also by fire extinguishers. They took fire extinguishers and blew them everywhere to try to cover their tracks," said Stephen Hammes, worship director of True North Community Church.

Super fine dust covers nearly every surface in the offices of the Lansing church.

Thieves broke in Thursday night. Police found blood near a broken window.

The church is looking thousands of dollars in damages.

"At first glance, with the computers and with those being ruined, the monitors, the printers and all of the tools were right around five to maybe 10,000 dollars," Hammes said.

But despite the losses Hammes and Pastor Gary Schnepp say they’re practicing what they preach.

“Our response is we choose to love," Schnepp said. "You know, you might have given us a road bump, but you're not going to stop us…whoever the perpetrators are before they even ask, they've been forgiven. We'd just like to love and go on the journey with them.”

The church leaders are looking ahead, in the weeks to come a restoration team will come in to rip up the damaged carpets. Hammes says the dust from the fire extinguishers is so fine it’s like cleaning up smoke damage. But after the initial heavy lift church leaders will look to their community for help.

“Then there's all these items that are going to have to be carried here and there," Schnepp said. "So I mean, that many hands make the workload light, right?"

Leaders will keep the congregation updated and let the community know how they can lend a helping hand through the church’s Facebook page.

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