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Community supports burglarized church

Posted: September 25, 2009 9:58 p.m.
Updated: September 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Pastor Ismael Estrada, left, and Juan Ramirez show where an unknown suspect broke into New Life Apostolic Church in Val Verde on Sunday night. The suspect took music equipment, speakers and money offerings from the church.

It's been a rough week for the New Life Apostolic Church of Jesus Christ in Val Verde.

On Sunday, someone broke into the church and stole several instruments, amplifiers and cash offerings. The losses totaled an estimated $2,250 - a tremendous bill for a church with 45 low-income congregants, some of who work at fast-food restaurants in the area.

But in the days since word of the crime spread, others have come forward with donation offerings and hopes that the church's loss will provide a catalyst for action.

Local religious leader Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami said he plans to ease the church's burden with donations and support.
"We have to do something to fix what was a terrible thing," said Blazer. "The worst place that can be burglarized is a house of faith."

New Life Apostolic Church Pastor Ismael Estrada will be meeting with his congregation on Sunday to discuss recovery.

"We went to a lot of trouble buying all this stuff," he said. "It made me feel good to know that people are willing to help another person."

Tina Rigali read about the crime in the Thursday edition of The Signal.

The Canyon Country resident called the newspaper to say she will to try help out as much as she can.

"There's got to be some safe places in the world and one of them should be a church," Rigali said. "If everybody did one good thing, boy, it would be a whole different world."

Donations can be sent to 30000 Hasley Canyon Road No. 8 in Castaic. Pastor Estrada can be reached at (661) 257-4375.


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