Got an email this morning that somebody broke into our sanctuary early today and, among other things, discharged two fire extinguishers in the sanctuary, leaving a fine powder all over everything, including soundboard, amplifiers, etc. etc.  I haven't been in yet to survey the damage, but I'm told "one speaker" is missing.  I'll be able to go in tomorrow morning to look for myself.

A fancy cleaning company is supposed to come in, take everything out of the sanctuary to their cleaning facility, and bring it back sometime next week.  Problem is, I'm out of town until Saturday afternoon, so having it all hooked up again and working for Sunday the 13th will be tricky... I think I've talked the pastor into just doing a single traditional service that day, since that'll be easier to fake through if some of the PA is not working...

I'm thinking about buying a whole new set of basic vocal mics for the room... sweetwater currently has some sort of basic Behringer dynamics, three for $40, but I need to get in the room to find out if there's anything else that needs replacing.  Still, I would imagine that microphones covered in fine powder aren't exactly cleanable... and I don't exactly want fancy cleaning company opening up our soundboard...

Happy Sunday everybody...

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Well, it did turn out that it was more vandalism than a burglary... whoever broke in didn't find where the light switches are in the sanctuary, so they probably didn't see any of our equipment.  There is fire extinguisher dust, mostly in the center of the room, but just standing in there for 15 minutes, I could feel it in my throat.  One speaker was taken, another was found out in the parking lot, but the one they took was basically a spare anyway.

The cleaners are going to spend most of next week supercleaning the room (they set off another extinguisher in the youth room).  Services tomorrow morning will be at a local restaurant, in the banquet room, and I THINK on the 13th, we'll just do a single service.... that or I'll pull an all nighter reassembling stuff on Saturday night and as a result our contemporary service on the 13th will be a trainwreck :-) )  But as such things go, it coulda been a lot worse...

So we wound up having church at a local restaurant (owned by a Muslim family!) who sacrificed their pre-noon brunch time so we could take over the room.  Managed to put together a mic, a music stand, a bass amp (used for the microphone) and a guitar from stuff I had at home, our other guitar player also brought his acoustic (and covered me for forgetting to bring a long-enough guitar strap).  That's me with the guitar up front, and everybody singing from the lyric sheets I whipped up this morning.

Haven't yet worked out a plan for next Sunday (I'm out of town 'til Saturday afternoon, prior plans).  All our equipment except that one PA speaker is still there, but I don't know if anything is damaged or how much is going to get unplugged and moved out of the way for the cleaners...

Anyway, when I think about what could have happened, in terms of stolen equipment, of what has happened in other churches, synagogues, mosques... we got off pretty easy.

Not a pleasant experience although, as you say, it could have been worse. May good come of it though for your church and wider community - perhaps stronger relationships or the miscreants getting headed off a bad path before they get to worse territory.

The closest thing I've had was in a previous church in London. Just as I was about to print my final song list and head to the church to lead worship, the power went down. It turned out to be a massive power cut, affecting a wide area of South London for much of the day. It was sunny so we ended up taking our service to the bandstand in a local park. Positive results were that we did a few more intentional events from the same bandstand and that we were reminded to spend a bit more time learning songs with the congregation rather than relying on projecting lyrics (committing things to memory is a valuable and now much-neglected spiritual discipline).

May God reveal the good he has for you.



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