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Nearly 20-Thousand Dollars of Damage and Theft Yet the Pastor In - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Nearly 20-Thousand Dollars of Damage and Theft Yet the Pastor Invites Vandals to Mass

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On Easter Sunday of all days vandals in Detroit Lakes managed to steal or destroy about 20-thousand dollars worth of property at a church. Today the congregation is far from being back to where they were before the crime. But as Valley News team's Eric Crest reports they're taking the "practice what you preach approach," to heart.
It's not everyday you see a church sign like this one at the Cowboy Church in Detroit Lakes. It reads "you can steal our stuff but you can't steal our faith."
"I guess it's our rally cry to remind us that if we're walking with God, this is the practice, we get to practice," says Pastor Brian Erickson.
The Cowboy Church congregation of about 100 recently had their faith tested when someone broke into their house of worship. 
"It is wrong and I don't like it and I am not happy about it," admits Erickson.
The vandals stole electronics, a young woman's guitar and broke a water line. That water line managed to flood out the basement where they hold Sunday school for the kids. 
"So when I went down the stairs it was like a water fall in the Sunday school and the floor was soaking wet and the ceiling had caved in," says Erickson.
Now despite having nearly 20-thousand dollars worth of theft and vandalism to deal with and a basement that won't be able to be utilized for some time. The congregation has made the message pretty clear. You can't take their faith. In fact, they would like to see the culprits come into service so that they could share their message.
"I would love nothing more than a few years from now to have those people sitting in our pews saying, the first time I came here to visit it was through the window but now I come through the door," says Erickson.
Because despite having to get their hands dirty and deal with the clean up and repairs. The Cowboy Church in Detroit Lakes has a bigger picture in mind.
"These people are probably searching for something. They're lost and maybe have drug addictions or life hasn't been good for them and their wandering and searching for something. We're standing in a building that could offer that," adds Erickson.
The Becker County Sheriff's office says they have several leads and have already conducted interviews to try and find out who broke into the Cowboy Church. If you have any information give your local authorities a call.
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