Fellow believers in a small, close-knit community church in a Michigan town are reeling from the revelation that the man in whom they placed unfettered trust has betrayed them. It has come to light that the ex-pastor pocketed church donations that were designated for the needs of the ministry.
Fleecing the flock
The small-town pastor shepherded a small flock of parishioners for more than ten years. During nearly six of those years, he managed to steal at least $285,000. He was charged and subsequently pleaded guilty to stealing more than $100,000 from January 2014 until November 2019. He will face sentencing in June of 2022.
According to one of the church members, his untoward actions caught the parishioners by surprise. They found out about the embezzlement by means of a written confession that the ex-pastor wrote to them directly. Members of the community also expressed shock that this happened. While this is not the first time pastors have fleeced their flocks, some members of the community were still caught off guard. One expressed that the act was totally out of character for the man he thought they knew.
Moving past the past
While the former pastor’s betrayal of trust is now in the past, church members are moving forward cautiously. Although the church treasurer did not wish to comment, one church member was more forthcoming. He admitted to the pain that the betrayal caused, but forgave the pastor as mandated by his faith. Sympathy, however, is voluntary and something he was not ready to extend. On the other hand, the ex-pastor understands that he has hurt both his biological and spiritual family very deeply, but wanted to amend for his actions with a full disclosure. He hopes that one day they can forgive him.