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Following church burglaries, worshippers forgive in Berks County

Worshipers forgive

READING, Pa. - After four Berks County churches were broken into within two weeks, Sunday was a time for worship.

Members of Holy Trinity Church of God of are looking past their pain and offering forgiveness.

"What would possess the person to break into the house of the Lord? What is it?" asked Dave Richardson.

"It's surprising that churches are starting to be targeted over and over again," said Joshua Wilder.

Their church is one of four in Berks County that have been ransacked and burglarized within two weeks.

"Everything I see was turned over, like there was a robbery, things was broken into, the safe was broken into," said Richardson, who said he was the first to come across the aftermath of the break-in.

Other churches that were targeted are New Jerusalem Zion United Church of Christ in Greenwich Township, Trinity United Church of Christ in Mount Penn, and St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Reading.

On Sunday at Holy Trinity Church of God, worshippers were forgiving.

"It's our job to forgive," said Douglas Sloane.

"The congregation, yes, is hurt, they're upset, but because of our teaching we understand that we must show grace and mercy," said another member.

Not only that, but people at the church welcome the thief or thieves to come back, but for a different reason.

"Like a hospital, you cannot turn away sick people-- that's your responsibility. That's where people go for help--the church, a spiritual hospital," said Richardson.

"I would love to see the criminals come to the house of God where they can get their needs met," said another member.

No arrests have been made in the break-ins and police say they're stepping up patrols around churches. Meanwhile, worshippers are staying strong and moving forward.

Wilder said, "This church, they are full of love, compassion. They have mercy on other people because God had mercy on all of us."

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