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In what is being called a hate crime, three elderly women (between the ages of 84 and 90) were tied up, tased, and their hom ransacked. According to the Christian Post: Three Mennonite women were attacked with a stun gun simply because of their faith, police said on Sunday. Dereck Taylor Holt was charged with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation, burglary and other offenses and is being held by Lancaster, Pennsylvania police. While police chief David Steffen told the Associated Press that Holt did not know the women personally, he did know that they were Mennonite and attacked them for that reason. During the assault, which lasted several hours, he tied up the elderly women, used a stun gun on them, ransacked their home, and read Bible verses before destroying the book. “There is no direct information that linked these individuals to targeting by the suspect. The only thing that linked them was his bias based upon their faith. They suffered multiple electrical shocks, were incapacitated and left. They were unable to move for a long period of time. That could have led to bad things like blood clots and positional asphyxia,” Steffen told the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era. Holt allegedly told the women that he was a former Mennonite but gave no further information as to why he would attack them. He allegedly told the women he was a previous member of the faith and had significant anger towards all members since leaving the tradition. // Read more here…
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Right during the middle of the service yesterday, 52 year old Gregory Eldred  shot and killed his ex-wife, Darlene Stitler, the church organist and choir director, as she was sitting in her pew. This all happened at First United Presbyterian Church in Coudersport, PA. From ABCNews.com: Witnesses told police they saw Eldred pacing outside the 180-year-old church before the service and that other members of the congregation grabbed Eldred after the shooting around 11:20 a.m., and held him until police arrived. Nobody else was injured. The defense attorney listed in online court records did not immediately return a call for comment Monday. Trooper Michael Knight told the Bradford Era newspaper on Sunday that Eldred allegedly walked down the church’s middle aisle and fired two shots at Sitler. Trooper Knight told the newspaper there were no children in the church when the shooting happened, but that police bused all those who witnessed the shooting to a building which houses Potter County offices so they could be interviewed by police. Potter County Commissioner Susan Kefover told the newspaper the shooting was “devastatingly tragic for the community.” Does your church have a plan for tragedy? You really need one. Here are a couple of great videos that will help get you engaged and encouraged to be ready for when tragedy strikes: and this one: More here… Does YOUR church have a plan for when tragedy may strike your church or community? Todd
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