Warren pastor believes church burglary is a sign of better things to come

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Pastor Mark Parks of Grace Place Ministries believes when you face opposition, you're really going the right way

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Sunday may be a day of rest, but it wasn’t for the pastor of a Warren ministry after thieves took some unusual items.

Pastor Mark Parks thinks it’s a sign he is moving in the right direction, though.

After getting a call from the alarm company for Grace Place Ministries on Commerce Avenue, Pastor Parks looked inside and found two broken windows and a broken glass door.

The bigger damage was when he walked outside, though, and realized six air conditioning units were missing.

“Totally shocked because right now we’re in the cold weather. We’re using the heat, so hadn’t really been looking at the air conditioning units,” Pastor Parks said.

Pastor Parks really doesn’t know when, but figures someone took the AC units in the middle of the night.

He’s shocked but not deterred, and figures the situation was a compliment to his Sunday sermon, which had come from Philippians 4: “Rejoice in the Lord always.”

“I just preached on it yesterday, rejoice in all ways the bible says rejoice. So no matter what we find ourselves in, whatever situation we find ourselves in, you got the joy of the Lord in you. You just keep moving. It will be all right,” he said.

Thankfully, no one got inside to take anything else.

Four AC units had been replaced 18 months ago after the copper was stolen out of them. Now, the ministry knows this job will be much bigger.

“The units cost $10,000 a piece and that was on sale. We got a deal on those,” Pastor Parks said. “It will run close to $70,000, $80,000 to replace the units.”

The payment on the insurance claim probably won’t cover the entire cost.

The building used to be Austin Village Church. Pastor Parks came to Warren from Atlanta three years ago with the idea of planting a church.

Right now, Grace Place Ministries helps kids and families one day a month.

Pastor Parks believes when you face opposition, you’re really going the right way. He believes the place will become a neighborhood church again, maybe even reaching the people who stole the air conditioners.

“I don’t know who took it, but God does,” Pastor Parks said. “We here to help our community, not hurt the community. So all you got to do is ask and we would try what we can to help people.”

Grace Place Ministries will add security cameras to its system and build a fence around the new air conditioning units.

Pastor Parks is still excited to preach to the neighborhood.

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