A letter certainly can't contain all of one's sentiments, but as the restoration of the damage done to our church is now close to completion, I wanted to share with you some feelings and thoughts as I look back to that day…Overwhelmed!
It was the first of many emotions experienced as I made my way through the church that Wednesday morning, witnessing what had been done to it.
It was truly overwhelming. Our local police department came right away, made a thorough investigation, and are still looking for the ones who did this. It became quickly apparent that while this act was certainly a most conscienceless one, it was also a very professional one. Dan Reigel began work right away after his own initial shock over what had happened. He and his crew worked very hard and had our heating system up and running in a relatively short amount of time. And he shared with us that even his suppliers, when they'd heard what had taken place, gave this job "priority one" over other things they might have on the docket.
As word of the incident spread, the phone began to ring. Words of encouragement and offers of help of every form poured in. That very day a woman I had never met pulled into our lot and handed me bags of meat she had just purchased at Boyers. The next evening another woman came to the church door, handed me a large box of canned vegetables, and was gone.
Churches in the community, folks outside the community, folks outside of the state, were all graciously offering help in any way they could. Folks who many years ago were raised in this church called to voice their heartbreak and displeasure, and offer their support.
One of the many emotions I felt was that one that leaves you with a heavy sigh and asking why. And, along with that, asking what kind of unique sense of audaciousness gives someone the boldness to scout out, target, plan, then carry out what was done for the relative little they would get from the sale of the copper and the meat.
Which leads, by far, to the question asked of me most… "What kind of person does this to a church??? What kind of person steals from God???"
The only answer I can offer is "I don't know."
But I do know that the same grace that is poured into my life by the Lord on a daily basis is the grace that is available to these men if they would repent.
What they did was wrong. They scouted out this church. They targeted this church. They planned very carefully how they were going to use this church. They carried out the plan, even boldly snacking on cupcakes and juice as they did so.
It was despicable.
And the Lord Himself calls us to "…pray for those who despitefully use you." And so I do.
And as I pray, I thank the Lord for all of those who have helped us as a church in doing another thing commanded by the Lord, in not being overcome by evil, but overcoming evil with good. Which is the main reason I write this letter.
So to all who came…to all who called…to all who gave… to all who offered…to all who prayed; I simply want to say, we simply want to say, as strongly as we can, "Thank-You!" Thank-you for all that you have done, and all you continue to do.
Rev. Rodney Hall –
On behalf of The Trustee Board
& The Congregation of The Primitive Methodist Church of Tamaqua