Letter to the Editor

Church members: Mind the money

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dear Editor,

As Church members, we trust the people who are appointed to the boards of our churches and expect them to do their jobs as secretary, treasurer, president, board member or pastor.

Have you ever thought about your church being a victim of misappropriation of funds or embezzlement?

Not many of us do.

When this happened in the Benkelman United Methodist Church, we were shocked and couldn't believe it had happened. We were told by others, both pastors and bishops, that this happens in churches more often than one would imagine. Thousands of dollars taken from the church, money meant for the works of the church and for God!

It is sad that this happens. We need to remember we are all accountable for good stewardship of the money entrusted to us; and we must be diligent in making sure all books are turned in for audits yearly, bank statements are looked over at monthly meetings, receipts are presented, every entity has a checking account and all checks have two signatures. These are just a few of the things we must do.

This is a reminder to all churches: Don't be lax on overseeing the funds of the church. When funds are wrongfully taken from the church, it hurts and divides. Friendships are broken, as well as trust.

I thank God that He sends pastors who are willing to do their jobs and oversee all their responsibilities to the church, along with the district superintendents and bishops who guide the pastors in what must be done in these situations.

Unfortunately, their responsibility to the church and its members sometimes means hard decisions have to be made.

I pray that your church never has to go through a situation like this.

Sincerely,

Jackie Fanning,

Benkelman, Neb.

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  • Jackie,

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss at your church. How did your church go about handling this?

    -- Posted by Benada on Fri, Jun 17, 2016, at 10:23 PM
  • Sad to hear this kind of thing. But, it's not just churches that get swindled. Companies and government departments and just about any place where there is a position of trust is vulnerable. What is always such a surprising aspect of this is that the person doing the stealing seldom really needs the money.

    -- Posted by bob s on Mon, Jun 20, 2016, at 12:42 PM
  • Jackie,

    I don't know you personally but I do know how terribly disappointed I am in you submitting this to not one, but TWO area papers. I wish to understand what you feel you are personally gaining out of continuing to bring this situation to the forefront of the public eye. There is a family that is tied to this individual that deserves to be given peace now that the investigation and trial are over. And may I add that it was the trial did not rule in your favor? Maybe that is why you just can't let it go. You obviously can't handle being shown how wrong you are.

    We all live in a small town which means we must all live together. Please consider your family is a similar situation. Consider going beyond your selfish need to continue the gossip and rising above it to forgiveness. After all, you are writing about church right? Did Jesus not tell us all that we are sinners? Did he not instruct us to forgive our fellow man? I will pray for you that you can find a heart like Jesus that is willing to forgive and work toward healing a community instead of continuing to wrap it up in gossip and drama. This family is praying for you as well. They have forgiven those that have turned against them in a time of need despite their heartache and disappointment. Now it is your turn. Will you forgive????

    -- Posted by just another face in town on Mon, Jun 20, 2016, at 12:58 PM
  • I'm not personally tied to Benkelman, any person involved nor this situation in any way. However, I applaud Ms. Fanning for bringing this to the attention of the public. This is the first I've heard of this and sadly too many times in today's society we tend to look the other way and not hold other's accountable for their actions. Yes, God taught us to forgive and not judge, however, he did not tell us to be naive and have people walk all over us. Situations like this happen way too often in all types of businesses, groups and associations. Along with the mindset of not taking responsibility for yourself & your actions. It's too easy to get away with things now adays. It's got to stop someplace.

    I'm assuming Ms. Fanning brought it up as a friendly reminder that we need to stop being so lazy and pay attention to our surroundings. Money is hard enough to come by without someone stealing it.

    -- Posted by Rural Citizen on Mon, Jun 20, 2016, at 1:25 PM
  • Thanks Jackie, keep up the good work of informing people,I wish you had published the name since it must be public record if there was a trial and the person was convicted.

    -- Posted by salamat on Thu, Jun 23, 2016, at 12:40 PM
  • I don't know what Jesus has to do with it, he wasn't even around, he has been gone for thousands of years and never lived in Benkelman. There isn't forgiveness when it is taken from a church.

    -- Posted by geewhiz on Thu, Jun 23, 2016, at 2:15 PM
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