HOLYOKE (WGGB) — Police are investigating the reported robbery of a church service over the weekend.
At about 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, Pastor Maria Marquez was holding service at La Iglesia Renacimento Misionera on Appleton Street when a man broke in.
“He came into the church, took out a gun, and in a very loud voice, told everyone to take off their jewelry and hand over their money. We all started to scream and cry, including the children. It was a moment of hysteria, then he took the gun and put it to a woman’s temple,” Pastor Maria recalled.
Pastor Maria told the brothers and sisters of the church to do whatever the robber said, and to remain calm. Although he asked the 25 members to fork over everything, one brave woman refused. “She hid her cellphone in her collar and that’s how she was able to call 911.”
While the thief didn’t shoot anyone, Pastor Maria did mention that one man went to the hospital afterward from the stress of the event.
Even after the crook took off, they continued service.
“They don’t respect the church. They don’t have any sense. They didn’t even think about the fact that there are children in there who are praying to God,” added Pastor Maria.
Even with Sunday traumatic events, Pastora Maria says her and the church members will be right back there next Sunday.
“We always feel safe. We feel good, but the moment passed. This is a positive church, and we are in victory. He didn’t kill the pastor, he didn’t kill anyone in the church, we still believe in God,” Pastor Maria smiled.
Police are still looking for the suspect.
They did not estimate how much money was stolen.