WINNSBORO — After a local church was burglarized a little over a month ago, there will be many people in need this holiday season that will go without.
Victory Temple Pentecostal Church of Jesus Christ, located on Golf Course Road in Winnsboro, was broken into during the month of October after entry was gained through a side window after busting out the stained glass.
A water cooler filled with change was stolen. Victory Temple had been taking small donations into the jug since January, which is something the church does every year. At the end of the year, half of the donations are given to missions and the other half are used to supply Christmas gifts to needy families during the holiday season.
Pastor Rick Murphy estimated the church lost anywhere from $600 to $800.
“We don’t know the exact amount but it sure did set us back a bit,” he noted.
Annually, the jugs are emptied out during the second week of December and then counted and earmarked for different charitable reasons.
The robbery remains unsolved.
“We haven’t heard a word,” Murphy stated. “They (police) thought they might have some leads but we haven’t heard anything on it. It is one of those deals where you may or may not find the person responsible.”
Half of this year’s donations were earmarked for Christmas gifts for families in need and gifts for residents at the Fairfield Manor nursing home.
Despite the setback, Murphy said his congregation will still make efforts to give back to the community. The congregation will pass out tins with cookies baked by female members, and this past Friday (Dec. 20) the church’s youth attended Fairfield Manor and sang Christmas carols.
“It’s mostly church members stepping up to the plate to try and do some of the cooking,” Murphy stated. “It’s hard to go buy stuff when our funds that had been raised throughout the year were stolen.”
Victory Temple members have been staying positive and keeping in the holiday spirit by making it work with what they have.
“It’s hard because we are a small church,” Murphy said. “But we’re trying to do the best with what we have at such a late hour in the season.”
Murphy acknowledged how disappointing the theft was during the holiday season when people should be giving back, not taking away.
“The sad thing is that that money wasn’t for us anyway,” he noted. “It was meant to do for others. The thieves took out of the hands of children and elderly and those are two groups of people that God told us to take care of.”
During these hard times, Victory Temple’s congregation has not let the bad news get it down.
“We’re pretty resilient and we just go and go and go,” Murphy said. “We’re like the Energizer Bunny. We just keep going.”
The broken window has since been replaced with an old window that was in storage. Murphy said the youth center has been doing well and held its Christmas play Dec. 22 at the sanctuary on Golf Course Road.
Victory Temple’s youth group also sang as a youth choir at Fairfield Manor, handed out gifts and talked to residents.
“We’ve got a good group of kids,” Murphy noted. “We have a lot of kids that come through the youth center and a lot of need is there for kids that are doing without.”
Murphy has reached out to Fairfield Behavioral Health (FBH) for any additional guidance to help those in need this season.
He went to see Cheryl Goodwin at FBH for assistance to tap into extra resources that will help to benefit everyone.
“She (Goodwin) is so good to us and such an encouragement for all of the community,” Murphy recognized. “We’re having to pull on everybody now to get through this.”
Goodwin said she was saddened by the theft.
“These people took from Victory Temple church not knowing the many hands that they were actually taking from,” she noted.
If you have any information regarding the robbery, contact the Winnsboro Public Safety Department. If you would like to help Victory Temple continue the giving trend, you can give directly to the church and earmark the funds for where you want it to go.
Victory Temple services many families and children in the Mill Village.
“They’re struggling so anything that anybody can give we’d be grateful,” Murphy said.