Open Letter to the Pleasant Grove Family and the Hatton Community

Re: The Recent Burglary

Dear Ones,

I am sure that many of you are aware of the events that took place Monday, March 11th, but so that the record remains truthful let me attempt to summarize. In the morning hours of Monday a young man approach my home, claiming he needed a ride to Fulton. During that conversation I became increasingly concerned about his presence so after he left my home I notified the Callaway County Sheriff's Department. A deputy arrived quickly and we walked both the church campus and the building. It was discovered that the sliding window to the church office was removed and several items were missing throughout the building. This includes televisions, a computer and other various items throughout the building. During that search we were also notified that the individual who had been at my home was at another location within the community. The deputies and the Missouri Highway Patrol responded to that area. He was found to be in possession of the church computer and other items and informed us that the TVs and remaining items were in the bushes behind the church and a closet within the building. In summary all of the items were recovered and the only physical damage to note was a scratched TV screen that will need to be replaced which we are making provisions to make that happen in the next week or so.

While we are grateful the physical damage was minimal, the emotional and spiritual damage remains present. Let me name some of my own emotions around this event in hopes of trying helping others to do the same. I feel angry and sad that this would happen, and more upset that it happened to my church and my church family. Additionally this experience has raised a level of concern, as like many of you my family frequently is at the church alone or in a small group. I wish to convey that the leadership team at Pleasant Grove is committed to the safety of the PG family and we are already having conversation about options for improving the physical safety and building security at the church campus.

Finally, I have a couple of requests. Please join me in expressing my gratitude to the Callaway County Sheriff’s Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol. Their actions Monday proved both their professionalism and dedication to our community. We will have cards in both services for everyone to express their appreciation and are asking our children’s Sunday School classes to make cards or write letters as well. Additionally as we live into our call I request that we pray for the young man or any others that may have been involved. I had a trusted friend say to me this week, “Paul if he felt like his best decision was to steal from a church, how bad must the other choices have been.” That was the true wisdom I needed amongst my own anger and believe it to have been of divine sourcing. Therefore please join me in praying that this is a moment of healing and course correction. As I told the young man when he apologized to me Monday morning Jesus loves him too much for him to live like this, I hope he can love himself enough to change.

As always if you have questions or concerns please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Grace Sufficient,

Pastor Paul Klepees