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No matter how bad things are at your church, mine will make you feel better

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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-03-10 02:12 PM
Original message
No matter how bad things are at your church, mine will make you feel better
Edited on Sat Apr-03-10 02:12 PM by Critters2
I haven't been around much, because I've been busy dealing with a little crisis at my church.

My secretary/church bookkeeper set fire to the home of my moderator and chair of Trustees (a married couple) when she realized that the Trustees chair was about to examine some documents that would demonstrate that she'd been embezzling...for 6 years, as it turns out. The State's Attorney says she took $100,000. Her husband is a former State's Attorney, and the current SA would like to indict him, too, at least partially for political reasons (and good ol' fashioned mimetic rivalry). So far, can't prove he knew about the crime, but they'd sure like to.

So, my Moderator and her wife are living in a rented house, while the insurance co and fire restoration people try to decide whether their house is salvageable; my assistant is in jail charged with a class X felony; her husband is devastated and being investigated; 3 children have lost their mother for all intents and purposes, and are at risk of losing their father; and I have no idea what I'm doing...though my Association Minister says I'm doing just fine. I have lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks, so there's that.

How's Holy Week been for you?
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-04-10 10:15 AM
Response to Original message
1. Critters2, I had no idea you
were dealing with this!

How awful for everyone involved!

Take care of yourself,OK?

:hug:
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Kat45 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-04-10 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
2. Wow!
Edited on Sun Apr-04-10 08:26 PM by Kat45
That sure takes the top prize for messed up church situations. I'm so sorry to hear that. I guess all you can do is keep on doing what you're doing, being the minister that you are. I wish you the best.
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-04-10 08:54 PM
Response to Original message
3. Oh my goodness...
I'm so sorry. Don't even know WHAT to say to all that!
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supernova Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-05-10 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
4. Not just bad, insane!
:wow:

I'm so sorry you are having to go through all of that. What a mess! I hope for your mental health that things will settle down soon.
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54anickel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-10 01:28 AM
Response to Original message
5. Zowie, would rate right up there for an episode of Punk'd if it weren't for real. So sorry to hear
you're having to deal with all that stress Critters2.
:hug:
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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-07-10 02:38 AM
Response to Original message
6. A little crisis?
This is terrible. I hope your Association Minister is helping you as much as possible.

:hug:
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wryter2000 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-09-10 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. Ohmigosh!
I'm so sorry. During Holy Week of all times. What kind of person would steal from a church and then burn someone's house down?
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Rabrrrrrr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-14-10 07:53 PM
Response to Original message
8. Damn. That's harsh.
Best wishes and blessings to you, and may the Holy Spirit give you all the strength you need to get through this AND to help lead your church through healing and grieving and all the bizarreness that comes with that process.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-16-10 02:04 PM
Response to Original message
9. Thanks all! We're doing surprisingly well, all things considered.
I'm still very busy. People just won't stop being sick, getting married, dying, and wanting to see their pastor, on top of all of the stuff related to the crisis...actually, I find normal pastoral work a nice diversion from "the situation". Things go in spurts. It seems to quiet down for a few days, but then some days--yesterday was one--people just need to talk about it, process it all. There's anger, of course, but not as much as I had expected. I think we're dealing with it as well as possible. I'm actually proud of my congregation.

Today is a challenge, because we're trying to figure out how to do payroll for the first time since she was arrested, when the person who knew the program and had all the info is in jail, and we just loaded Quickbooks into this new computer (did I mention that the detectives took her computer as evidence. It seems like everyday we find some new problem related to all of this.

The Conference Business Manager is meeting with my Trustees and Church Council Tuesday, to begin the process of figuring out where we are financially, and putting better safeguards in place so this doesn't happen again. The Conference and Association have been great through all of this!

Still, the stress shows. I've lost 13 pounds in the last month, 10 of them in the first 2 weeks. And I haven't had a piano lesson in all that time. I suck at the piano, but I miss it, and intend to get back to lessons next week.

I do enjoy all the embezzlement stories people have been sharing with me, though. Misery loves company! I'm considering publishing an "embezzlement story-a-day calendar". :) Grain elevators are, apparently, hotbeds of illegal activity. Who knew?

Thanks again for your prayers and support. Though I don't get here enough, the DU Progressive Christian group is a great community! Love you guys!

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liberalhistorian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jun-30-10 12:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. Wow! I'm sorry I'm so late to the thread,
but just wanted you to know I was sorry for the situation and hope things worked out at least somewhat okay (they can never be truly okay!).

Kinda makes our recent incident where my pastor announced at the end of the service that there was adultery in the church among major members and that, if it didn't stop, he was going to have to name names and he really, really, really didn't want to do so (but he just couldn't have that in the church when unrepentance and flaunting was involved) seem mighty tame by comparison. Apparently, they'd been talked to several times privately, in accordance with either Matthew or Luke 17 (can't remember which right now), but, with no change, he felt he had to take it to the next step of the requirements of the verse. I felt bad for him 'cause you could tell he really didnt' want to do that and was very upset.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-09-10 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Wow! That's called "reading out" and I didn't know anyone was still doing it.
Although a predecessor here was involved in adultery with another woman, and the Association Minister came and read him and the woman out in worship. Everyone was shocked, not at the adultery, which was fairly widely known by that point, but that the AM read them out in worship. Reading out is an old Puritan practice, but almost never done in the UCC anymore.

As to my situation, there was another "final" pre-trial hearing today. Again, the defense asked for a continuance, and again it was granted. Next trial date is August 9, with a "final" pre-trial on August 6. The offender's husband told me today that there are negotiations going on. The State has offered 18 years and full restitution in exchange for a guilty plea. I can't see how she can make full restitution. The embezzlement comes to about $150,000; and the fire damage is estimated around at around 1/2 million. But I'm glad there's negotiation happening. I was just sick when I heard the State wanted the full penalty of 30 years for the embezzlement and 15 for the arson, to run consecutively. 18 with possible parole and good behavior means she could have her sentence reduced by at least half. 9 years away from her family is still a long time, but better than 45 years.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-06-10 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
12. The offender pled guilty this morning. I guess that's a good thing,
I'll really know how I feel after the sentencing hearing, I think.

Thanks for your support, all!
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-06-10 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I'm glad it's over

for you and your congregation, Critters.

I feel very sad for the family of this lady.
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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-07-10 02:35 AM
Response to Reply #12
14. Let us know about the sentence.
This is so sad for you and everyone in your church.
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Aug-13-10 01:19 AM
Response to Reply #14
15. I will. The sentencing hearing is September 24.
Now there's this debate going on about whether the church should send a letter to the judge re: sentence, and what it should say. Some would forgive her, and wish she could be with her family...others would love to string her up. Most are somewhere in between. The challenge will be making a joint statement, if we decide to. We don't have to.
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murielm99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-25-10 02:29 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. What happened at the sentencing hearing? n/t
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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-26-10 09:30 PM
Response to Reply #16
17. The sentence is 11 years. She's been incarcerated for 6 months,
so, with good behavior, she could be home in 5 years. All very sad, but about the best one could hope for, considering what the State's Attorney was asking for. Now, she'll go to Dwight for 30 days, for evaluation and intake. Then, maybe stay at Dwight. Maybe be moved somewhere else.

So, so sad.
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