The congregation lost thousands of dollars in equipment.
New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, was hit by theft and arson at about 4:00 a.m. on May 23, 2019. 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 said they are devastated. Although some of the equipment was insured, the team has 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.
A view of the interior of the trailer of New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sydney, Australia, that suffered theft and arson on May 23, 2019. [Photo: Adventist Record]
The New Hope Seventh-day Adventist Church trailer on the morning of May 23, 2019, after a theft and arson attack. The congregation lost thousands of dollars in video equipment. [Photo: Adventist Record]
“It’s a severe blow to us,” Hunt said. “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 more than 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,” Hunt said. “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 endeavors, but Grolimund and 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,” Hunt said.
The team has asked that anyone with production equipment they are not using consider donating it to New Hope.
“They’ve reached thousands of viewers worldwide and created connections with local churches through our resources,” said Hope Channel Australia director Wayne Boehm. “We’d hate to see that ministry stop.”