A Bloomingdale church had its faith sorely tested Sunday morning.
Mission Church, a year-old portable church that has been holding its services at Stratford Middle School, 251 Butterfield Drive, found Sunday morning that its main trailer, which was being stored in Carol Stream, had been stolen.
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Carol Stream police said the matter is still under investigation.
Founding and lead Pastor Jon Peacock said the church, being portable, sets up everything that is normally permament in a standard church every weekend. When it is taken down, everything -- including lighting, projection equipment, a screen, sound equipment and the cases that contain them -- goes into a trailer.
That trailer, with more than $100,000 in contents, was stored at the corner of Gary and North avenues in Carol Stream.
Between 5:15 and 5:30 a.m., two volunteers and a staff member went to get the trailer. Instead, they found a broken lock on the ground.
"That's something you fear, being a church in our situation, being portable, that something would happen to all of your things. That fear certainly came true today," he said.
Peacock, who grew up in the Roselle-Bloomingdale area, said the church went ahead with its 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services with improvised sound and lighting equipment that included foil wrapped around lighting.
During the services, he said, as he went up to teach, he was holding his daughter, who smashed a Cheerio into his arm.
"What a day this has been," Peacock said, who said the incident was a character builder for the church. "People would say sometimes you don't know what you're made of until you go through something, on an individual level. I'm thinking the same thing is true at a church level. You're not sure what kind of a community you have until you have gone through something like this."
Peacock said the stolen property was insured. He said he will be in contact with the insurance company Monday morning.
In the meantime, he wants to make it clear that he has forgiven the thief.
"A number of people have asked me throughout the day, 'If you could talk to the person who stole this, what would you say? It may sound crazy, but I would actually tell that person that, 'You're the reason we started this church.'
"Jesus is really clear that we're called to love everyone. That includes enemies and that includes people that steal your stuff. I'm not angry."
For Peacock, this is an opportunity for the church, which has grown from 30 to 400 people in the past year, to extend forgiveness.
"This was our 53rd Sunday today, and I think this stands out as my favorite one because we had an opportunity to, I think, really pull together and say, 'You know what? This doesn't demotivate us. It actually motivates us and this compels us to continue doing what we're doing.'"