30 May Homefront UB Church Ransacked by Thieves–But Good Prevails
On the evening of May 16, thieves drove what was probably a truck across the grass in back of HomeFront UB church, broke the window of the pastor’s office, backed the truck up to the church, and helped themselves to anything of value. They apparently spent quite a bit of time in the building. They kicked in doors and ransacked at will, leaving with TVs, computers, printers, guitars, projectors, and other items.
This happened between 9:30 Wednesday night, May 16, and 8:30 the next morning. The break-in was discovered Thursday morning by Josh Good (right), who had been senior pastor of HomeFront for just two weeks.
They also took items donated by local businesses for a silent auction to be held two days later, a Habitat for Humanity benefit for a single mom and her four kids. Missing was Zales jewelry, a digital camera, about $185 in cash, and other items from the auction table. They’d been preparing for this for several weeks, and the loss–up to $2000–was heartbreaking. The stolen church property was valued at around $6000, but is covered by insurance.
Two other churches in the area had been burglarized recently, but no connection has been made. Police don’t yet know the identify of the thieves. Pastor Good says seven acres of land lie behind the church building, and, “It gets really dark back there.” The thieves entered through the office window, but probably carried items out a door. One neighbor said he saw a truck at the end of the building for a few hours that night.
Pastor Good, who had served on staff at nearby Banner of Christ UB church since 2003, didn’t lose anything from his office. He was still waiting for a desk to arrive, so all of his books and other belongings were still packed in boxes, and he had taken his laptop home for the evening. “Apparently the thieves aren’t theologians, because they didn’t steal any of my books.”
The Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity is building a home for Julie Malfroid, her three sons, and a daughter who is severely handicapped from a brain injury and requires constant care. They’ve been living in a bad-off trailer. Construction of their new home will begin in July.
So, how did the auction go?
“It worked out really well,” says Pastor Good. HomeFront had set a goal of $3500 for the Malfroid family. Thus far, they have raised over $9000.
The break-in drew a lot of media publicity, and people and businesses responded with donations. Ticket packages came from the Detroit Tigers and the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team. The Tigers tickets went for about $90 apiece. Some local businesses mailed in cash donations. A local ice cream shop auctioned off free ice cream once a week until the end of August. A card shop that went out of business brought purses and other items. Two private artists donated wood pieces.
“It has all worked out very well,” says Josh Good. “Insurance will cover our stuff, and we’ll go without for a few weeks. The response for the auction from the community was awesome. People came up big. And for a fairly young church like HomeFront, for newer believers to see a situation that is pretty bad and to see how God can use it for good and flip it upside down–that was really good for our people. I’ve been able to say from the pulpit that God has ways of doing things that we can’t foresee.”