Church recovering from break-in

Still able to broadcast services despite losing electronic equipment

Houston Fellowship Church file photo

Losing tens of thousands of dollars of broadcasting and electronic equipment after a break-in the middle of this month hasn’t stopped the Houston Fellowship Baptist Church from livestreaming to its congregation.

The first week after the break-in Pastor Larry Ballantyne and others reached back to what they did a year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit and there were no in-person services.

“That first week we were again using an iPhone,” he said.

Since then the congregation has added a few more pieces of equipment as it slowly pieces together what was taken after someone or somebody forced a door and entered the church sometime between March 10 and March 12.

“We’ve filed our insurance claim and from that we’re hoping for the best,” said Ballantyne.

Ballantyne said about half of the equipment had been purchased since last spring after the church adapted its ministry to provide online services.

He was the one who reported the break-in on March 12 when he went to the church to meet someone else.

“You feel a little bit violated. This is just something you don’t expect,” he said of the forced entry.

“You’d think that a church might be the one place that might be exempt, but things are different nowadays.”

Ballantyne had been on the alert earlier in March after a break-in was reported at the Houston Christian Reformed Church. It happened sometime between Feb. 28 and March 2. Nothing was stolen but those who broke in forced open a locked office door, leading police to believe they were looking for cash.

“If they did that at one, they might do it at another,” said Ballantyne who spent the early part of March regularly checking on his facility.

And with the equipment now on hand, Ballantyne is preparing to broadcast Easter services.

At the same time, between March 28 and May 13, province is allowing faith groups to hold a one gathering with a maximum of 50 people or 10 per cent of the total worship space available, whichever is smaller.

Ballantyne said he’ll be figuring out this week out how to minister to both a live-streamed and in-person congregation.

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