New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, New South Wales) was hit by theft and arson at 4:00am this morning (May 23), when thieves stole thousands of dollars of film equipment from a shipping container and trailer, before setting the trailer on fire.
The local police and arson squad have investigated and found an accelerant was used to ignite the fire. Initially, the thieves attempted to break into the Vineyard Christian Church building itself—which the New Hope congregation is currently using—before targeting the western Sydney church’s mobile van that plugs straight into the high-tech church.
New Hope’s pastor, Lloyd Grolimund, and chief of production, Andrew Hunt, are devastated. Although some of the equipment was insured, the team have lost thousands of dollars, as well as countless holidays, evenings and weekends spent building the mobile van and investing in New Hope’s media ministry.
“It’s a severe blow to us,” said Mr Hunt. “We’re not sure how long the rebuild will take, but we’ve received countless mysterious donations and answers to prayers in the past, so we know God wants this ministry to continue, and we know He is still good.”
Receiving over a hundred thousand hits to their weekly podcasts, videos and live streaming, the duo and their dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to transform New Hope church into a dynamic television ministry.
“It’s the voice of God in the local community,” said Mr Hunt, “We’re devastated because the mission of New Hope was to be a TV church.”
It is unclear how much this incident will affect New Hope’s future endeavours, but Pastor Grolimund and Mr Hunt are determined to continue their media ministry.
“We’re dedicated to still doing our live stream this Sabbath. It will be a different production and we’ll only be able to use one camera, but we’re not giving up,” Mr Hunt said.
The team have asked that if anyone has production equipment that they are not using, to please consider donating it to New Hope.
“They’ve reached thousands of viewers worldwide and created connections with local churches through our resources, so we’d hate to see that ministry stop,” said Pastor Boehm, director of Hope Channel Australia.