By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The pastor of a Hutchinson church vandalized by two juveniles just before Christmas says cleanup continues.
"We had to rely on Phoenix Restoration for the bulk of the cleaning," First Congregational Church Pastor Matt Stafford said. "They are still in the process with a few things. I imagine it will be another month before we're back to normal."
The process of getting an opportunity to teach the young men, ages 9 and 10, who committed the acts is underway.
"Both of the adults where the juveniles live have contacted us and have made an effort to meet with us and see what can be done as far as community service with these young men," Stafford said.
It's important to go forward with grace, as well.
"We're concentrating on what God has done for us," Stafford said. "We try to behave in a way that would be honoring to Christ. Even when there are major mistakes made, we've got to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and go forward from here. God is a gracious God and Scripture says, by grace you have been saved. We feel like we should grant that same grace to those who offend us or who are in the situation where they need not only forgiveness, but reconciliation."
Stafford notes that they don't equate forgiveness with approval. He said he heard once that to not forgive somebody is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.